The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly denounces the decision of the Union Cabinet to decontrol the movement of essential commodities and reduce the price control on essential drugs. These decisions will have far reaching consequences for the livelihood of crores of people.
The sweeping decontrol is tantamount to the government abdicating its responsibility of procuring essential commodities at a minimum support price. This measure was the result of the freedom movement which assured protection to the farmer from all sorts of uncertainties while at the same time also protecting the consumer through a public distribution system. Leaving everything to the market -- the reigning philosophy of `reforms' -- had, in the past, ruined the lives of millions of farmers. It is, indeed, ominous that such a decision has come when there are reports of growing starvation deaths and distress suicides amongst the farmers.
Further, it must be recollected that these restrictions on the movement of essential commodities were introduced, in the first place, to prevent speculative hoarding by traders leading to artificial price hikes. By removing the restrictions now, the Vajpayee government is making crores of people vulnerable by placing them at the mercy of predatory speculators and hoarders.