Economic package a hoax, govt failed to send foodgrains it had promised: Mamata Banerjee

KOLKATA :
The TMC on Thursday dubbed the announcements made by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as a hoax and said the Centre had failed to provide West Bengal with the foodgrains it had promised or had sent those of inferior quality.

Sitharaman’s announcements will not have any immediate impact in reviving the economy or improving the living conditions of people, senior Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader Saugata Roy said.

Keeping up his criticism of the finance minister’s announcements during the day, Roy, a veteran parliamentarian, said the states are fighting the real war against COVID-19 but have been badly deprived.

“Like Wednesday, Thursday’s announcements too have nothing to offer. One nation, one ration card (announced by Sitharaman) is a commendable target, but it is hard to achieve and will take time to be implemented. There is no relief or economic stimulus for the states, which are fighting the real battle against COVID-19,” he told PTI.

Continuing his attack, the TMC MP said no money has been allotted for the travel and immediate needs of migrant labourers, adding, “This package is turning out to be a hoax.”

Sitharaman announced free foodgrains for an estimated eight crore migrant workers for the next two months at a cost of 3,500 crore on Thursday.

Announcing the second tranche of an economic stimulus package, she said the eight crore migrant workers, who do not have either central or state PDS cards, will get five kg of foodgrains per person and a kg of “chana” (gram) for two months.

The finance minister said the government will make ration cards portable under the “One Nation, One Ration Card” initiative to allow migrant workers access their ration across the country.

West Bengal Food Supplies Minister Jyotipriyo Mullick dubbed the Centre’s announcement of additional foodgrains to migrant labourers as a farce and said it has failed to send the amount of foodgrains it had promised or sent those of inferior quality.

“The Centre is just trying to fool the masses. It failed to provide the amount of foodgrains it had promised earlier. It failed to provide the promised amount of foodgrains or provided inferior quality of inedible grains. They had promised one kg of dal per ration card, but the Food Corporation of India has told us they will not be able to provide it. The rice that is being sent is of a very inferior quality, which is not possible for human beings to consume,” he said.

Currently, five kg of foodgrains per person and a kg of pulses per household are being given for free for three months till June to PDS (ration) card-holders under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGAY) to benefit over 80 crore poor people. This is over and above the five kg of foodgrains given at a subsidised rate to each beneficiary under the National Food Security Act.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had slammed the Centre on Wednesday, claiming that its special economic package was a big zero and of no use to the states.

The TMC supremo had also said the Centre was “misleading people” during the covid-19 crisis.

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