TMC urges Centre to extend free ration scheme for 6 more months
Kolkata: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) urged the Centre to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme, amid reports that the programme might be discontinued after November 30.
TMC MP Saugata Roy, on Sunday, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to extend the programme for another six months.
"The union Food Secretary has come out with a notification that the distribution of free food grains under PMGKAY is going to be over by November 30. The common people will be very much inconvenienced by such a move as the menace of Corona pandemic continues all over the country and in some areas it is on the rise. So, I have written to the Prime Minister seeking an extension for another six months so as to ensure relief to the concerned beneficiaries who have been worst hit economically by the pandemic," Roy said.
Roy further said that the state government will continue to provide ration to people free of cost.
"Those grappling with the economic crisis in the midst of the rising fuel prices will need assistance from the state as well as the Centre. If the Union government discontinues the scheme, it will add to their woes," the TMC MP stated.
PMGKAY is a food security welfare scheme announced by the Union government in March 2020 during the COVID pandemic to feed the poorest citizens by providing food grains to people across the country.
The state government is providing 2 kg rice and 3 kg wheat to over 10 crore people in the state under PMGKAY.
Biswambhar Basu, general secretary of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers' Federation said that the scheme was extended from May till November this year when the second wave of COVID hit the country. "In 2020 pulses were also provided along with food grains but in the second year, no pulses were supplied under the scheme. Only rice and wheat were provided. In many cases, there was a shortage in supply too. The common people will be the worst hit if the supply gets stopped with effect from November 30," Basu said.
He had already written to the Prime Minister requesting for an extension of the scheme for six more months.
"The centre has food grains in its stock. So why should it stop supply at this juncture? This is unjustified," Left Front Chairman Biman Bose said.