7.5 Lakh metric tonne of paddy procured till Feb 24: Food Minister

The state government has procured 7.52 lakh metric tonne of paddy till February 24, Jyotipriyo Mallick, state Food and Supplies minister said in the Assembly on Monday.

The Minister said the government had procured 38.59 lakh metric tonne of paddy in Kharif marketing season (KMS) of 2015-16. Altogether, 328 centralised procurement centres have been set up in the state. He said the state government would meet the procurement target ahead of its schedule, adding that 18 lakh farming families were benefitted in the last KMS. In 2017 so far, he said 3.2 lakh farmer have sold paddy.

The Food and Supplies department, along with Health and Family Welfare department, jointly run a programme to combat malnutrition. 4,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), identified by the Health department, are unit wise (mother and SAM child) being provided 5 kg rice, 2 kg wheat, 1 kg masur dal and 1kg Bengal gram per month free of cost for six months. Introduced in October 2014, the project has been very effective.

The State Government had budgeted Rs 5,020 crore to implement Khadya Sathi programme. January 27 was declared as Khadya Sathi Dibas by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The department had set up model fair price shops (FPS), run by self help groups in six closed tea gardens in the first phase. In 2016-17, a project to construct 126 FPS in 86 tea gardens has been taken up to ensure availability of food grains to the beneficiaries.


২৪শে ফেব্রুয়ারী পর্যন্ত ৭.৫ লক্ষ মেট্রিক টন ধান সংগ্রহ করেছে সরকার: খাদ্যমন্ত্রী

“রাজ্যে কৃষকদের কাছ থেকে ধান কেনা নিয়ে রাজনীতি নয়, বরং সহযোগিতা করুন,” বিধানসভায় নিজের দপ্তরের বাজেট পেশ করতে গিয়ে আবেদন খাদ্যমন্ত্রী জ্যোতিপ্রিয় মল্লিকের।

তিনি বলেছেন, “যাঁরা ধান বিক্রি করেছেন তাঁদের নাম-ধাম তো বটেই, ফোন নম্বরও রয়েছে আমাদের কাছে। চাইলে মিলিয়ে দেখুন স্বচ্ছতার অভাব আছে কি না। সিপিএম কিন্তু এমন কোনও তথ্যভাণ্ডার করত না। করেনি। আমরা করেছি।”

তাঁর দাবি, রেশন কার্ডের হিসাবে জল মিশিয়ে গণবণ্টন ব্যাবস্থাকেই শেষ করে দেওয়া হচ্ছিল। একের পর এক দুর্নীতি হয়েছে। বাংলায় ১ কোটি ৩১ লাখ জাল কার্ড ধরা পড়েছে। নতুন সরকার তা ধরেছে। ব্যাবস্থা নিয়েছে।

খাদ্যমন্ত্রী বলেন, রাজ্যের মানুষ দু’টাকা কেজি চাল পান। কিন্তু বাইরে থেকে আর চাল কিনতে হয় না। রাজ্য স্বাবলম্বী। ফলে বাংলায় আর আমলাশোলের অনাহারের মৃত্যুর মতো ঘটনা ঘটবে না। ঘটতে দেওয়া হবে না। রাজ্যে কেরোসিনের বরাদ্দ কমিয়ে দেওয়া নিয়েও কেন্দ্রের বিরুদ্ধে সরব হন তিনি।

Presidency University will become a model for the entire world: WB CM

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee today visited Presidency University for the convocation ceremony. She announced a slew of projects for the renovation and upgradation of the current campus as well as new Rajarhat campus.

WB CM also announced that a new campus of Presidency University will be set up at Dow Hill, Kurseong and it will be known as Himalayan Institute.

West Bengal Government will give Rs 118 crore to Presidency University out of which the Chief Minister handed over Rs 30 crore to the Vice-Chancellor today.

“What Bengal thinks today, rest of India thinks tomorrow. Presidency will show the way. Presidency should become a model for the entire world,” she said.

“I am honoured to be at Presidency. I am happy to be in the midst of so many young, talented minds,” she added.

125 years of University Institute

WB CM also attended the 125th year anniversary of the foundation of Calcutta University Institute today. She inaugurated the newly-renovated auditorium of Calcutta University Institute during the event.

Speaking on the occasion, WB CM said, “We must never forget our roots, no matter which part of the world we are in. We must teach our future generations about our past.”

She added, “Bengal can become the seat of another Renaissance in the future.”


WB Govt sets up six ration shops outside closed tea gardens

The State Food Department has set up six ration shops outside the gates of five closed tea gardens, so that the tea garden workers, along with the people living in the fringe areas of those five closed tea gardens, can get the benefit of procuring ration from those shops.

State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said in the Assembly lobby that these ration shops have been set up by the Food Department, each at a cost of Rs 6.24 lakh. The minister said that ration shops have been set up outside Red Bank, Surendranagar, Dekhlapara, Dalmore and Kathalguritea tea gardens, with two being set up outside Kathalguri.

The Minister alleged that during the Left Front tenure, tea garden managers were given charge of ration shops and “after we came to power we found out that these managers most of the time failed to distribute ration evenly among the closed tea garden workers, which led to starvation.”

The Minister further said that his department has chosen some efficient self-help groups to run these ration shops and that these groups are now effectively running the ration shops outside these closed tea gardens.

At present, 1.03 lakh workers, their family members and those living adjacent to these closed tea gardens are the beneficiaries of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s special package of rice at Rs 2 per kg. He said Rs 1,080 crore is being spent on the special package and a total of 3.28 lakh people are the beneficiaries of this package.


WB Govt to open ‘Roudra Brishti’ outlets across the State

In 2014, West Bengal Essential Commodities Supply Corporation (WBECSC), under the state food and supplies department, had launched its own retail chain of commodities, to promote exclusive products of the state in agriculture and food sector, with a distribution outlet in Kolkata called ‘Roudra Brishti’.

The government is now planning to take ‘Roudra Brishti’ outlets to the districts so that people of the entire State can benefit. The state food and supplies department had called for tenders from various municipalities in the State and got a fabulous response. Several municipalities like Coochbehar, Jalpaiguri, Suri, Nabadwip, Barasat, Madhyamgram have expressed interest.

At these outlets while consumers will get branded commodities at discounted prices, producers of agricultural products will also get a fair price. Currently, average daily transactions at ‘Roudra Brishti’ outlets is worth Rs 50000. They register monthly profit of Rs 10-12000 as per the minister.

Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick said, “We did not set up ‘Roudra Brishti’ with profit in mind. Our aim is to provide goods to people at a fair price. We are glad these outlets are making profits.”


Centre depriving Bengal of paddy, kerosene quota: Food Minister

State Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick Tuesday, alleged that the Centre has deprived Bengal by reducing its quota of kerosene as well as withholding funds for procurement of paddy.

“I have taken up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and she has assured to send the state chief secretary to Delhi if required to expedite release of pending funds. We have already written to Union Food Minister, and an official of the Food and Supplies Department is now in Delhi to expedite the matter. The state food secretary is scheduled to leave for Delhi tomorrow,” said Mr Mullick.

He alleged that the Centre has failed to sanction Rs 11,049 crore that was meant for paddy procurement despite regular submission of utilisation certificates.

“Had we received the funds we could have completed procurement of 15 lakh metric-ton of paddy which in turn would have helped us meet our deadline of procuring 32.36 lakh metric-ton by March,” said Mr Mullick.

Reduction of kerosene quota

Speaking about the next instance of deprivation by the Centre, Mr Mullick said three days ago, the Centre had reduced Bengal’s quota of kerosene by 636 kilolitre whereby the present entitlement is 79,652 kilolitres.

“The quota of no other state has been reduced as much as Bengal. When the Trinamool Congress came to power the state’s quota was 80,292 kilolitres. The UPA II government had reduced it by 4 kilolitres but there has been a substantial reduction this time,” said Mr Mullick.

The sudden reduction will force ration shops to decrease the per person allotment, he said.