Opposition stages walk-out over BPL rice
The entire Opposition on Thursday staged a walk out in the Assembly criticising the State Government for the irregularities in distribution of BPL rice even as Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Pratap Keshari Deb alleged that Congress and BJP members were doing politics over rice scheme.
The issue cropped up during discussion on admissibility of an adjournment motion notice with the Congress members alleging that even though the Centre provides 35 kg of rice for each BPL family under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS), the State Government is distributing only 25 kg per family.
Alleging that the surplus rice was misappropriated, Prasad Harichandan (Cong) said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also mentioned the issue in one of its reports. Referring to the FIR campaign launched by the Congress on the issue, Harichandan wanted to know what action the State Government has taken in this regard.
Criticising the Government for doing politics by supplying rice at `1 per kg, Harichandan demanded that the Minister should come out with facts on subsidy given by the Centre and the State Government for the scheme. The State Government is demanding more allocation of BPL rice from the Centre, but the off-take was below 100 per cent.
Harichandan quoted a letter from union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh to the State Government in which he said the off-take of cheap rice did not touch 100 per cent during the last three years.
Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh also criticised the State Government for large scale irregularities in distribution of BPL rice. Alleging that thousands of poor people have not got BPL card, Nabakishore Das (Cong) alleged that hunger still prevailed in the tribal dominated areas of the State. He said in many cases, ruling party workers have been given BPL card.
Making a statement, the Minister said there has been no irregularity in distribution of BPL rice. He said the Centre provided BPL rice for 27.76 lakh families at the rate of 35 kg per family. Alleging that the Centre did not agree to the State Government’s request to increase the number of BPL families, he said the Cabinet decided to provide BPL rice to 42.2 lakh families at the rate of 25 kg per family.
The Minister said instead of filing FIRs against the State Government, the Congress members should file FIR against the Planning Commission as it is responsible for the entire thing. Ranendra Pratap Swain (BJD) also suggested that FIR should be filed against the Planning Commission on the issue.