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.