LAUNCHING A scheme that promises to provide rice and wheat at subsidised rate to over 7 crore people, almost 80 per cent of the state’s population, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday slammed the opposition party for “being blind to the state’s development”.
“From today, 7 crore people in Bengal will receive rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg. I am thankful to the farmers of Bengal for contributing to the stock of grains required for Khadya Sathi,” Mamata said after launching the scheme from Red Road.
“As much as 15 lakh metric tonnes of rice have already been procured, which is more than our target of 10 lakh metric tonnes. The Krishak Mandis have been instrumental in the procurement process. Out of 176 Krishak Mandis, 120-130 are already up and running. We have been providing help to the people of Singur who lost their land,” the CM asserted.
The much publicised ‘Khadya Sathi scheme’, which aims to ensure that 70 lakh people in the state get subsidised food and cereals at half the market price while over 7 crore people would receive 5 kg of food grain every month at Rs 2 per kg, will prove vital in the upcoming elections, TMC leaders believe.
The scheme, according to government officials, targets the “poor and very poor”, many of whom who aren’t covered under the National Food Security Act.
The CM took took the opportunity to attack the CPM, which, she said, has been claiming about “no development” in the state. “They cannot see. I will ask them to open their eyes. I think either they do not want to see the progress or they are sleeping,” Mamata said.
“I talk less and work more. I keep myself busy with work.. Do not make me open my mouth..I will give a fitting reply at the right time,” she added.
She also accused the central government of “reducing allotments” for important social programmes like integrated child development services. “The Centre can stop them but we cannot stop the benefits being extended to the people of our state. It is our responsibility towards the people, we cannot step back on that promise and commitment.”
Mamata was quick to point out that the seven crore people who would benefit from the scheme included those communities that the opposition claims have been found wanting – those living in the Jangalmahal region, malnourished tea garden workers and their families, people of Singur who lost their land to acquisition and other homeless in the state.
“They have been suffering for a long time… We have announced a Rs 100 crore package for them. Family of a worker of a closed garden will get Rs 1,500 and rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg,” she said. The farmers of Singur would continue to get a monthly allowance from the state government till the court takes a call on the return of their land, the CM said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines