The state government’s department of food and supplies on Thursday distributed ration cards, under its Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme, among 117 homeless families from the city. Department minister Jyotipriya Mullick, who distributed the cards, credited Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for the initiative.
“Ever since Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had asked me why we couldn’t feed these street dwellers, we have been thinking of devising a model through which we could at least ensure food to them.
Since August 2012, we have been able to give rations cards to 1,602 people,” the minister said, and added that the drive will be a continuous process. “By October this year, we would have covered all the homeless in Kolkata.”
Among those present at the occasion were Agriculture Minister Malay Ghatak, Consumer Affairs Minister Sadhan Pandey and Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee.
While everyone had some words of praise for the effort, Ghatak said that Mullick has been able to break the jinx that a food minister cannot be popular.
“Not many wanted to take charge of this department but he has managed to run it very efficiently all this time,” he said.
Mukherjee, however, added a word of caution. “I have been the mayor of this city and so would like to forewarn him (Mullick) that there is a necessity to guard this project so that people in the districts do not throng the city thinking that they could be ‘homeless street-dwellers’ here and get the ration cards,” he said.