One rupee rice from July 10 for BPL card holders

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Karnataka
Bangalore, July 5: The Congress government in Karnataka is all set to roll out its "block-buster" election promise of providing 30 kg of rice per month to BPL families at Re 1 per kg from July 10 and sees no impediment in its implementation.

Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Dinesh Gundurao on Friday said, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah would launch the programme here, which would be simultaneously unveiled in all districts.

Karnataka gets 1,78,000 tonnes of rice from the Centre every month and needs additional 1,07,000 tonnes to implement the initiative which would cost the exchequer Rs 4,200-Rs 4,300 crore this fiscal by way of subsidy.

Gundurao said that Karnataka has sought an additional 10,000-15,000 tonnes from the Centre.

He said the State's entire additional requirement can be met by Chhatisgarh which has a "bumper stock".

It can buy from Chhatisgarh at Rs 22.90 per kg but with transportation cost it would be Rs 26-27.

In addition, the government has already issued notification facilitating buying from NCDEX, where the bidding process starts on July 24.

Besides, it's trying to procure rice from central agencies.

"There is sufficient stock. Let there be no doubt or apprehension over the implementation. There is financial support. There won't be any problem in its implementation", the Minister said.

Nearly one crore households would benefit from the programme.

One member family would however get 10 kg of rice and the two-member one is entitled for 20 kgs, while those with three members or more would get 30 kgs.

He said the ordinance on food security programme by the Centre would benefit the state's rice initiative as more people could be included in it with additional subsidy.

Government originally planned to implement the programme from June one but postponed it as it could not tie-up on the supply side.

The opposition BJP has dubbed the programme a "hasty decision" without doing home-work. Karnataka is not a large rice producing state.

Gundurao said the Government would construct 27 godowns with 45,400 tonnes storage capacity at a cost of Rs 37 crore, including Rs 27 crore loan from NABARD.

PTI

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