Opposition Congress walks out

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 22 (UNI) The Opposition Congress today staged a walk-out, protesting the unsatisfactory reply of Revenue Minister Manmohan Samal on the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the state.

Replying to the admissibility of an adjournment motion, moved by the Opposition, and calling attention motion of Treasury, the Minister said the PDS in the state was functioning well and the Government had taken several measures to strengthen it.

The Governbment, the Minister said, had taken a decision to cancel the licence of the store agent or dealer indulging in blackmarketing of commodities, meant for public distribution.

The persons concerned would not be given license again, he said adding an order in this regard would be issued soon.

Mr Samal said a new policy would be implemented to maintain transparency in the distribution of kerosene oil through the PDS.

The Minister said he had discussed the issue with the Union Government and it would be be worked out soon.

In future no petrol dealer would be allowed to take dealership for kerosene, and kerosene meant for distribution under the PDS would not be allowed to be used for other purposes.

The Minister said the Government had taken several measures to strengthen the PDS system in the state.

The Government had cancelled the license of 138 control dealers, suspended 579 and filed more than 2000 cases during a five-month-long intensive campaign, launched in July last year.

During the period 395 squads conducted more than 25,000 raids and seized PDS goods worth Rs 2.36 crore and collected a fine of Rs 22.49 lakh.

The government had involved the Gram Panchayats and Women Self -Help Groups for smooth distribution of commodities through the PDS and providing them with working capital for it, he said.

Arrangements for social audit of the control dealers had been done to maintain transparency, he added.

But not satisfed with the reply, the Opposition members staged a walk-out.

Participating in the debate, while the Opposition members said the PDS in the state had collapsed due to widescale irregularites and corruption at different levels, the Treasury members highlighted the steps taken by the Government to strengthen the system.

Listening to the members, Deputy Speaker Prahald Dora rejected the motion.

UNI BD SJC MIR KP1828

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