Do not connect agriculture and food prices: Pawar

Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar today tried to wash his hands off the issue f rising food prices in the country, giving credence to the popular perception that the UPA government at the center is lax in its efforts to maintain control over hoarders.

Hoarders and black arketers are having a good time as both government and administration have failed to control illegal activities.

"I do not understand how Ministry of Agriculture is concerned with price level. It is supposed to concentrate on agriculture produce," Pawar said, adding that it was the first time in his 40-year political career that he is hearing such a link.

Pawar's comments are in a way an admission of the failure of the open market sale of rice and wheat undertaken by the government in taming price rise in the country.

The price of wheat and rice under this scheme is subsidised, so that the consumers can be benefited.

Allocations have been made through a number of channels so as to increase the spread as well as coverage and thereby augment market availability, according to a government release.