Naveen politicising Rs two per kg rice scheme - Congress

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Bhubaneswar, Aug 13 (UNI) Criticising Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for ''politicising'' rice at Rs two per kg to BPL families in the state, the Congress today threatened to launch a statewide agitation.

Talking to newspersons here, Orissa Pradesh Congress chief Jayadev Jena and former Union Minister Srikant Jena said the party leaders would meet Governor M C Bhandare tomorrow to lodge their strong protest the way the whole administration in the state had been engaged to give political mileage to the ruling Biju Janata Dal.

They alleged that posters of Chief Minister and the symbol of the BJD were being displayed at the public distribution centres(PDS), where the recently launched rice at Rs two per kg, announced by Mr Patnaik, was being distributed by the officials to the BPL families.

Describing it as a ''shameful act'' on the part of the officials and the Chief Minister, the Pradesh Congress leaders said the ruling BJD was politicising the scheme keeping the Municipal, Assembly and the Parliamentary elections in view.

The PCC chief said while the UPA government had sanctioned a subsidy of Rs eleven per kg of rice procured from the FCI for supply through the PDS, the state government had provided only a subsidy of Rs three per kg to supply the rice to the BPL families at Rs two per kg.

But this was not being highlighted by the BJD government, which had been taking the full credit of supplying rice at Rs two per kg to the BPL families.

Former Union Minister Srikant Jena alleged that the state government had collected a huge amount of Rs 1400 crore from the poor people during the past eight years by providing rice to the BPL families at 74 paise more per kg than the price it had purchased from the FCI.

Mr Jena said he had written a letter in this regard to the Chief Minister, seeking a clarification but the latter preferred to remain quiet.

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