Centre Accuses WB of Underutilisation of Foodgrains

Centre Accuses WB of Underutilisation of Foodgrains
Union Food minister K V Thomas today said the West Bengal government utilised just 12.7 per cent of the 2.6-lakh-tonne special allotment of food grains for 10 backward districts of the state during 2011-12, a charge contested by the state's food minister.

"The total food grain allotment for the 10 districts was 2.6 lakh tonnes during 2011-12 and the off take was just 12.7 per cent of the quota and the window will remain open till September this year," Thomas said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on food safety, organised by the Bureau of Indian Standard, where no state representation was invited.

Meanwhile, contradicting the data presented by Thomas, state food minister Jyotipriya Mullick said the special allotment order for 2011-12 was received only in May 2012.

"Still within this short period, we have already lifted 20 per cent of rice under the Antarodaya scheme and 50 per cent of food grains under BPL. We have not yet been offered the 42,000 tonnes of wheat allotted," Mullick claimed.

He said the government had demanded 5.5 lakh tonnes of additional food grain for supply to Jangalmahal and for those affected in the Aila cyclone and poor living in hilly areas.

Mullick said just 3.5 lakh ton food grain was offered against the demand for 5.5 lakh ton made in a meeting with Thomas along with TMC MPs, and that too eight months after the meeting took place.

The minister said Bengal had been deprived of the full complement of food grains but declined to link the issue with the upcoming presidential election as has been alleged by some quarters.
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