The government earlier this week approved the conversion of the surplus rice available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) into ethanol in order to manufacture alcohol-based hand sanitisers and also for blending with petrol.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC).
"This decision comes as a slap on the face of the millions of migrant workers, other unorganised sector workers and poor who are suffering untold hardships, including an acute shortage of food bordering on starvation, because of the lockdown.
"Despite repeated urging by the CPI(M) to distribute the huge food stock for free to all needy, the central government has not expanded provisioning of foodgrains for universal distribution through state governments. Foodgrains should be for people, not for fuel, as also advocated by FAO," the Left party said in a statement.
It further stated that the rationale for using "valuable rice" for ethanol blending in petrol at a time when international oil prices are at a historical low and when most petrol-driven vehicles are off the roads due to the lockdown is "beyond comprehension".
"Cost of oil imports has reduced and there is a surplus unutilised capacity, domestically, for production of alcohol needed for sanitisers. People''s lives, millions who are struggling to survive facing hunger, lack of shelter and deprivation, cannot be bartered for corporate profits. This is criminal. The CPI(M) calls for the immediate reversal of this atrocious decision," it said. PTI ASG RC
Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI