BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Wednesday decided to step up its fight against the State Government on twin issues of irregularities in distribution of digital ration cards under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and failure to provide works to job seekers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
The party, which launched its Jana Jagaran Yatra (public awareness campaign) from October 14, 2015 to expose failures of the State and Central governments, will hold the next phase of the campaign on April 15 at Daringbadi in Kandhamal district.
This was decided at a meeting of district Congress presidents and State functionaries chaired by OPCC president Prasad Harichanadan here.
Announcing the next phase of programmes, Harichandan said the party will take up the cause of poor people who have not been covered under NFSA.
Claiming that nearly 80 lakh eligible beneficiaries have been excluded from the food security net, Harichandan said his party will re-apply for ration cards for these people at their respective blocks and district offices on April 15.
“If ration cards are not issued after one month of filing applications, the party will take up the matter with the State Food Commission. If the Commission fails to resolve the issue within the stipulated time, the Congress will launch ‘Khadya Surakshya’ rally across the State to put pressure on the Government to act on it,” Harichandan said.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi will address the proposed rally for food security, the date and venue of which will be decided at an appropriate time, he said.
Slamming the State Government for its failure to provide works to job seekers under MGNREGS, the OPPC chief said 2015-16 has turned out to be the worst year for the scheme as the average days of employment provided per household was only 46 days.
Though the MGNREG Act provides unemployment allowance in case the Government fails to provide work after 15 days of job demand, Harichandan said over 25 lakh registered job seekers are yet to get such benefit.
The last leg of the 10-phase Jana Jagaran Yatra has been planned at Jashipur in Mayurbhanj district on April 26, Harichandan said and added that the Pradesh Mahila Congress has decided to protest against drinking water scarcity in the State on April 11.
Accusing the ruling BJD of trying to hand over forest land to corporate houses, the OPCC chief criticised the State Government for its move to hold fresh Gram Sabhas for obtaining their views on proposed mining at Niyamgiri.