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Bulgaria: Government To Open State Grain Reserves

Sofia, 21 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's Deputy Agriculture Minister Hassan Aly said today that state emergency reserves of grain will be opened soon. And Aly tells REF/RL that the price of bread will continue to be subsidized from the state budget.

Our Sofia correspondent cites reports from around the country on the bread crisis: in the industrial town of Pernik, authorities say bread has "disappeared." In the Danube port town of Vidin, lines of people waiting to buy bread were described as "huge," and local officials said the current reserves of grain in Vidin are expected to last only two days more.

In Velingrad, "people's committees" are being formed to monitor bread prices and distribute bread. This follows attacks by angry residents on bread trucks in Velingrad yesterday. Bread has been selling in Velingrad for three times what it costs in Sofia.

Officials in Sofia say they fear the situation in Velingrad will spread to other areas.