Kolkata, May 2, 2020-
Hundreds of angry villagers gathered in front of ration shops in West Bengal’s Murshidabad district protesting irregularities in ration distribution system in the area on Saturday.
The incidents took place in Salar and Lalgola area as irate villagers vandalised the ration shop and the ration dealer’s house in protest of irregularities in the public distribution system. The villagers alleged that they were not getting proper food grains and essential items that they were entitled to receive from the local ration shops.
“It is an unfortunate incident. We have already instructed the district magistrate and the local police superintendent to look into the matter. If the ration dealer is found guilty we will take strong against him. Already we have cancelled licenses of two ration dealers on Friday,” state food minister Jyotipriyo Mallick said.
Earlier on Friday, similar incidents were reported at Narayanpur area of Kakdwip, Birbhum’s Labhpur and Murshidabad’s Jalangi area where villagers came in hoards and alleged that the ration dealers were not giving essential food grains as per the allotment guidelines set by the State food department.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had promised to give 5 kg of rice to each card holder at free of cost in the time of Covid-19 lockdown.
According to sources in Murshidabad, the villagers have alleged that they were getting poor quality food grains which were also less in the specified quantity.
“We have already show-caused all the ration dealers where there have been protests. We are looking into all possible aspects at the local level and the supervision is being done by the Block Development Officer (BDO) in those respective areas. We will take strong action if anyone is found guilty,” the minister said.
He said there are over 21,000 ration dealers across Bengal and about 9.96 crore people of the state are getting direct benefits of the public distribution system in the time of Covid-19 crisis.
Hinting at political instigation by local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress leaders in the district, Mallick said: “Both the incidents in Murshidabad were particularly instigated by the local BJP and Congress leaders. I request all political parties not to engage in any political blame game in the current situation. We all are in crisis and poor people are the worst sufferers now,” he added.
In a separate incident, the state BJP leaders also alleged that essential food grains were being siphoned off in a truck at Nadia’s Habibppur locality. The truck, stuffed with rice grain that came to a local ration dealer, was being sent to a nearby Shri Krishna Rice Mill when angry villagers caught the truck red-handed. AThe villagers stopped the trust and staged an agitation outside the rice mill on Friday night. When asked Trinamool leaders refused to comment on the issue.
“We are not playing any politics at this juncture. People of Bengal, especially in the remote pockets, are hungry. They are not getting essential food grains. We are just trying to voice their concerns,” said senior state BJP leader Joy Prakash Majumdar. (Agency)