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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Congress has decided to intensify its agitation on gross irregularities in the Centrally sponsored National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) schemes across the state from April 15 next.

A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of District Congress Presidents and state party office-bearers at Congress Bhawan here on Wednesday.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Cuttack District Congress president Prakash Behera said the party will try to ensure proper implementation of NFSA and MGNREGA schemes introduced by the UPA government at the Centre.

Referring to the massive irregularities in the implementation of NFSA, Behera said deserving beneficiaries have been deprived of ration cards by the state government.

He said as per the decision taken at the meeting, the Congress will identify genuine beneficiaries who have been deprived of ration cards.

“Our party will fill up the names and details of the beneficiaries in the form and apply for ration cards on their behalf to the concerned authorities. If the concerned authorities fail to comply with the application and do not take necessary steps, the party will resort to agitation. The party will adopt the same process for the MGNREGA beneficiaries, who have not been provided with job cards. We will submit the forms on behalf of these left-out beneficiaries to the district Labour office and apply for job cards for them,” he pointed out.

PCC president Prasad Harichandan said nearly 80 lakh people, who are eligible for ration card, have been deprived of their rightful claim by the state government on political and other grounds. "We will fight for those who have applied for ration card and who leave their native place to work as migrant labourers. We will stage agitation at the block level and panchayat level until these poor people get their ration card," he added.

PCC spokesperson Sulochana Das said strengthening of the party base and highlighting public issues were the main topics of discussion at the District Congress Presidents’ meeting.

Talking about the decision taken on ration card issue, she said the genuine and left-out beneficiaries will reapply for ration card in the forms to be provided by the Congress. The party will collect a copy of the forms from all organisational districts, which will be sent to the District Congress Committee which will take up the matter with the district administration to get ration cards issued to these beneficiaries.

“If the district administration fails to provide them the ration cards within a month, we will take up the issue with the State Food Commission. If the Commission does not take any steps, the party will take to the streets,” Das said, adding that similar steps will be taken on MGNREGA issue.

The Congress spokesperson further said there will be a meeting of Block Congress presidents followed by another meeting at the panchayat level where the party will take up these two issues.

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