Curtailed food quota for BPL families

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Bhopal, Apr 29: Putting the party and administration on election mode, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has formally launched the revamped food security scheme ''Annapoorna Yojana'' with pomp and show involving the Chief Ministers of all BJP-ruled states.

Taking a firm stand not to reduce the number of families living Below Poverty Line, the BJP government preferred to accommodate all BPL families under the scheme by reducing the monthly foodgrain quota by 15 kg per family.

While the Centre treated only 41.25 lakh BPL families in the state as eligible for subsidised foodgrains and allocated wheat and rice at the rate of 35 kg per month per family, the state government was using the same quota to feed all impoverished people of 62.50 lakh families listed in the BPL category.

Under the revamped scheme, which was implemented with pomp and show marshalling the presence of all prominent BJP leaders to attend the launching ceremony at different places, each BPL family is given 20 kg foodgrain per month. At some places, each family was given 18 kg wheat at Rs 3 per Kg and 2 kilo rice at Rs 4.50 per Kg.

The crux of the dispute is 21.25 lakh BPL families which did not conform to the norms of eligibility fixed by the Centre, but was listed in the BPL category by the state government.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had already urged the Centre to relax the norms for BPL category claiming many families living in houses having tiled roof were much impoverished.

Mr Chouhan along with BJP Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu formally launched the ''Annapoorna Yojana'' in the state capital on April 26.

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Bhuvan Chand Khanduri, former Union Minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy and former MP chief minister Sunderlal Patwa were deputed to launch the scheme in prominent districts to garner electoral support in view of the Assembly elections scheduled at the end of this year.

At present, the state was getting only 66,220 tonnes of foodgrains for distribution to the above poverty line (APL) category. In view of increased demand for foodgrains due to severe drought in 37 of the 48 districts, the state government has been urging the Centre to increase the APL quota foodgrains by 1.19 lakh tonnes per month from December, 2007 to June,2008.

Meanwhile, Mr Chouhan and his Cabinet colleagues will observe 24-hour 'fast' from 1100 hrs tomorrow across the state to protest the Centre's alleged discrimination towards the BJP-ruled state in providing foodgrains and drought relief assistance. Mr Chouhan will observe fast at Roshanpura square in the state capital.

UNI

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