Hundreds 'gherao' Planning Comm to protest targeting of BPL familes

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New Delhi, Mar 4 (UNI) Hundreds of CPI(M)-backed cadres of the All India Democratic Women's Association today laid siege to the Planning Commission to protest its ''fraudulent policy'' of targeting families Below Poverty Line (BPL) that excludes a large section of the poor from the benefits of subsidised food and public health.

Shouting anti-government and anti-Planning Commisiion slogans, protestors from 15 states led by Brinda Karat of the CPI(M) -- a constituent of the UPA government at the Centre -- condemned Planning Commission's policy that stripped millions of poor from the benefit of government programmes meant for the BPL families.

Surrounding the Planning Commission, agitators also blocked the road on Parlament Street near Yojana Bhawan leading to traffic jam.

The Police, however, intervened and restored normalcy.

Ms Brinda Karat dubbed the policy a fraud on the poor people and demanded for its immediate roll back.

''The policy has deprived millions from the benefit of education services, pension schemes, housing and numerous other government programmes, besides rationed food and health services meant for BPL families.'' Suhashini Ali of the AIDWA later led a delegation comprising Brinda Karat and Sudha Sundaram (AIDWA General Secretary) to submit a memorandum to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, which seeks redressal to her complaints and demands.

Ms Ali later told presspersons that in the absence of Mr Ahluwalia two members of the Commission accepted the memo. ''We would come again to apprise the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman of our concerns.'' The Planning Commisiion members conceded that there was ''justification and logic'' in our complaint, she said while adding that the ''fraudulent move'' was an assault on the rights of the poor and needy.

UNI AN GT HT1922

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