Bhubaneswar: Union Minister for Consumer Affairs Ramvilas Paswan on Friday held the State government responsible for not initiating any action against the ineligible beneficiaries, who have fraudulently obtained ration cards under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Odisha.
Accusing the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD governmentof being soft towards such people allegedly belonging to the ruling party, the minister said the State government must take action against these people.
“So far as irregularities in ration distribution in the State are concerned, it is the duty of the State government to initiate action. And we have no power to take any action,” Paswan said.
“Centre plays only the role of an advisor in implementation of NFSA across the country,” he added.
“Several complaints are coming in that the poor have been deprived of their rights under the subsidised rice scheme. The Centre can only provide the guidelines to the state and allocate food grains to the people. It is the state government’s job to identify the beneficiaries,” Paswan said.
Paswan also accused the Odisha government of misleading people on subsidised rice given to the poor under NFSA.
The state government’s claim of providing subsidised rice at Re.1 per kg was not based on facts and it was misleading, the minister stated.
“I have been informed the government claims it is giving 100 percent subsidy under the scheme. But the fact remains that for each kg of rice that costs Rs.30, the Centre gives a subsidy of Rs.27 while the state government gives only Rs.2. The consumer thus gets rice at only Re.1 per kg,” he said.
The ruling BJD responded to the taunt on NFSA saying it will bring amendment to rectify the mistakes in implementation of the Act.
“Ration card is an administrative matter of public distribution system. The State government is taking steps to overcome the shortfalls in it,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.
On Friday, the Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party submitted a memorandum to Paswan, accusing the state government of only enlisting ruling Biju Janata Dal functionaries as beneficiaries while the poor were denied benefits under the food scheme.
The party urged proper implementation of the NFSA in the State.