With the UPA government dreaming to make Food Secuirty bill a major poll plank, the Shiromani Akali Dal has decided to go with only Atta-Dal Scheme in the state, A flagship scheme of the SAD-BJP alliance.
"It's not a question of political benefit, but its about to cover more poor people. Punjab's Atta-Dal Scheme is much better than the one rolled out under the Food Security Act. There are many lapses in Food Security Act, and it doesn't suit Punjab, as it would cut down the number of beneficiaries. So, we will continue with the existing Atta-Dal Scheme," said Punjab Food and civil supplies minister Adesh Partap Singh Kairon.
"Punjab will raise objections to Food Security Act in the meeting organised by union ministry on September 23," he said.
He was here to flag off a consignment of food grains donated by Punjab Rice Millers for flood-hit Uttaranchal.
Kairon said that Food Security Bill promised only cheap grains and people couldn't survive on grains alone. "Punjab's Atta-Dal Scheme is comprehensive which provides subsidised cereals and pulses as well. So, we will go ahead with it," he said. He said that Punjab would make the scheme more attractive by lowering prices of food grains and bringing more people under its purview.
"Apart from widening the number of beneficiaries from 15 lakh to 30 lakh, the prices of food grains would also be lowered to extend maximum benefits to the downtrodden sections of society under the Atta-Dal Scheme," he added.
Attacking the UPA, he said on one side the Congress was taking about food security, on the other hand prices of essential commodities were skyrocketing.
Earlier, while flagging off the consignment of food grains, Kairon lauded the role of Punjab rice millers in extending help to flood-affected Uttarakhand. Punjab Rice Miller Association president Tarsem Saini said that association had so far dispatched 51 trucks of food grains on behalf o Punjab government and 50 more were ready.
Panchayat minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, former minister Harmel Singh Tohra, Surjit Singh Kohli, Rice Miller Association officer-bearers Gurdeep Singh Cheema and Jaspal Singh Pali were also present.