Mamata Banerjee’s Rs 2 per kg rice scheme under Centre’s scanner
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s pet project, Khadya Sathi (Food Partner), under which ration card holders are entitled to two kg of rice per week per head at Rs 2 per kg, has come under the Centre’s lens.
BK Gupta, a director in the Union food and supplies ministry, wrote to state food and supplies secretary Manoj Kumar Agarwal on Tuesday that the Centre has decided to conduct a survey of the scheme to find out whether its benefits reached deserving people.
The letter stated the Union government decided to evaluate the transparency of operations as 60% of the funds for the project came from the Centre. The survey will be conducted by an independent agency and not by any agency under the Centre or state’s control, the letter reads.
Bengal food and supplies minister Jyotipriyo Mullick, however, rubbished the Centre’s decision, saying, “Khadya Sathi is a pet project of the chief minister and the entire cost is borne by the state government.”
He accused the BJP-led central government of “unnecessary interference” in the state’s project. Mullick said he was yet to read the letter. “I will have a look at it and decide on the course of action after discussing the matter with the CM. We are not attaching much importance to the letter.”
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national secretary, Rahul Sinha, wondered why the state government was getting agitated over the survey if it was confident about transparency in the project. “It is the nature of Trinamool Congress to object to any positive step by the Union government,” said Sinha.