Updated: February 2, 2021 3:31:09 am
Thanking the PDS distributors for delivering food to the people during the Covid pandemic, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday announced several sops for ration dealers, among them, extending the licence renewal period to three years from the current one year.
She also announced to reduce the working capital of those applying for a new ration dealership from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, and as assistance of Rs 2 lakh if the ration dealer dies on duty.
She made the announcements while addressing the state conference of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Federation.
“You fought coronavirus pandemic from the frontline. From farmers to PDS distributors, everyone is corona fighter,” Banerjee said at the conference, titled ‘Anne Ananya Bangla’.
She also said that steps need to be taken to stop pilferage of PDS grains. “It is often seen that five out of 100 people do not take their allotted rations… Their due rations are then being sold in the market. We have to take care that this does not happen,” she said.
She also said that the condition of ration dealers in the state has improved a lot with several measures taken by her government in the past that included the issuance of digital ration cards, use of coupons for getting rations among others.
Hitting out at the NDA government at the Centre, she accused it for not purchasing adequate quantity of paddy from West Bengal. She said, “I have a complaint. The Central government talks big. But the rice provided to the people by the FCI is rotten. The Central government purchases several lakh tonnes of rice from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh whereas it buys only 69,000 tonnes of rice from West Bengal. The state government purchases 45 to 50 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from the farmers, spends Rs 31 per kg to prepare it (convert it into rice) and sends it to be distributed free by PDS. This is not there in any of the other states.”
Meanwhile, Banerjee on Monday inaugurated a slew of projects in North Bengal, including a 3.29 km-long bridge over the Teesta river and a cement plant.
Constructed at a cost of Rs 500 crore, the “Joyee” bridge over the Teesta connects Haldibari and Mekhliganj in Cooch Behar district, reducing the distance between the two towns from 85 km to just five.
She also inaugurated a Rs 450-crore cement plant at Mohitnagar in Jalpaiguri district, a few youth hostels, and a number of electricity sub-stations, including one in Malda that has been built for Rs 80 crore. She said, “This cement plant will generate employment for 7,000 people.”
She also threw open to the public the Devi Kamteswari bridge over the Mansai riverat a cost of Rs 150 crore. The bridge connects Dinhata to Sitai in Cooch Behar district. Apart from these, an overbridge at Phulbari in Jalpaiguri was also unveiled by Banerjee.
Banerjee said that education hubs would soon be coming up at Dow Hill and Mongpu, and a hill campus of the Presidency University was being set up at Kurseong in Darjeeling district.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines