The state government has decided to set up seven ration shops in the 51 enclaves – also known as Chitmahals – which came into the Indian territory in 2015, so that around 16,000 dwellers of the area do not have to travel far to collect food grains.
It was on June 6, 2015 that the enclaves covering around 7,110 acre land came into Indian territory. Bengal government had initiated work for infrastructure development in the enclaves.
At the same time, the state food department had initiated providing rice at Rs 2 per kg to 14,864 members of 2,867 families in the area. Each family of five members get 35 kg of rice.
Udayan Guha, Trinamool Congress MLA from Dinhata Assembly constituency in Cooch Behar where most of the enclaves are situated, raised a question in Assembly to know whether there is any plan to set up ration shops in the enclaves as the residents of the area at present need to travel a long way to collect ration.
In reply, the state food minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said in the Assembly that necessary steps would be taken in this regard.
Ration cards will be distributed to around 2.1 crore people from Friday to January 4 and a system will be introduced in which 5,000 people will be getting ration from each shop.
District Magistrates, Block Development Officers and executive officers in the Municipal areas will be monitoring the entire project.
He later said that seven ration shops will be set up in the enclaves. In another development, 920 people of 200 families had expressed their wish to come into the enclaves in the Indian territory. They have already started staying here. Food grains and kerosene oil is given to them free of cost at three settlement camps in Dinhata, Mekhliganj and Haldibari.
The state food department is sending 60 quintal rice and 1 kilo litre kerosene oil every month for the 920 people. Each of the 200 family with five members in each one is getting 30 kg rice free of cost and in case there are more than five members then additional 500 gram of rice is given for each of them. Each of the family is also getting 5 litre kerosene oil.
With 920 people coming in to the enclaves in Indian territory, the total population of the area has gone up to 15,784. Thus, seven ration shops will be set up so that the people do not need to travel long distances to collect their ration.