Rajnath inaugurates scheme in Chhattisgarh

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Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, Jan 16 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh today inaugurated the Chhattisgarh government's Rs 837-crore Chief Minister's Foodgrain Assistance Scheme here whereby 34 lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) families would be supplied 35 kg rice monthly at Rs 3 per kg.

The scheme was simultaneously launched in all 16 districts.

Former union minister Murli Manohar Joshi launched it in Janjgir-Champa, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in Ambikapur, BJP Senior Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu in Raigarh, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhuvan Chandra Khanduri in Korba and BJP spokesman Ravishankar Prasad in Koriya.

''Several families, which were listed as BPL in 1991 and 1997, got left out in the 2002 BPL survey and the Centre has recognised only 18.75 lakh families as BPL,'' said Chief Minister Raman Singh.

The new scheme included such left out families thereby benefitting about 1.62 crore people -- 65 per cent of the state's population.

Government sources said the scheme's initial expense was roughly Rs 350 crore but the Centre ''slashed'' the foodgrain quota for Chhattisgarh and other northern states resulting in the state government pumping in an additional approximately Rs 500 crore. The Essential Commodities Act would be invoked against those indulging in bungling.

Complaints may be lodged at the tollfree number 3663 January 26 onwards. SMS alerts would inform people whenever rice is dispatched to their village or town. While the government claims that it gathered the scheme's funds from its own sources the opposition Congress said the Centre gives Rs 1,101.18 crore foodgrain subsidy annually and the state's contribution to the scheme was a mere 10 per cent.

Former Chief Minister Ajit Jogi objected to the scheme's name.

Fifty beneficiaries received 35 kg rice each and title deeds were provided under the Rural Housing Scheme.

UNI ABS-AC AKJ KP1809

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