Cong, Trinamool Cong demand CBI probe into ration malpractices

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Bardhaman/Kolkata, Oct 3 (UNI) The Opposition Trinamool Congress and the Congress today demanded a CBI inquiry into the malpractices in public distribution system that led to serial violence in three West Bengal districts over the past few days as one person was shot dead in police firing in Ketugram today during a demonstration against irregular supply of ration.

Even as Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee appealed to the people not to take law into their own hands and urged the Centre to increase the quantum of rice and kerosene in the public distribution system, the issue triggered a political duel between the CPI (M) and the Opposition.

While charging the Government with killing the hungry, Trinamool Congress Chief Mamata Banerjee and Congress Legislature Party leader Manas Bhunia demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged PDS malpractices and continuing unrest in Birbhum, Bankura and Bardhaman districts.

But accusing them of hatching a conspiracy, CPI(M) state Secretary Biman Basu alleged that there was a concerted effort to foment trouble in the state and stall developmental activities.

Ironically, the Ketugram violence coincided the Left Front -sponsored public rally in the city, organised as part of an agitational programme against price rise of essentials and the Centre's 'apathy' to strengthen the public distribution system for the benefit of the poor.

While assuring that his Government was trying its best to reach foodgrains to the people, particularly the poor, the Chief Minister admitted to have received complaints of malpractices against some dealers.

''We have received complaints against some dealers and appropriate steps would be taken. Over the past few days untowardd incidents have taken place in some districts against ration dealers.

But we strongly condemn such incidents and appeal to the people not to take law into their own hands,'' he said.

However, describing the Ketugram incident as unprecedented, Ms Banerjee declared to launch a food movement tomorrow at Bankura where a similar mob violence took place on October 1 resenting alleged malpractices by ration shop owners.

Superintendent of Police Piyush Pandey said the firing took place at Serenga village where a mob gathered in front of the residence of a ration dealer in the morning and started holding demonstration.

As police failed to pacify the crowd, they resorted to lathicharge, but the mob went berserk prompting the lawkeepers to open fire, he said.

UNI

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