UDF walks out of Kerala assembly over ration cards issue

Posted By: PTI
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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 11: Accusing the LDF regime of failing to seriously address the issue of alleged anomalies in new ration cards distributed after the implementation of National Food Safety Act, the Congress led UDF on Friday staged a walk out in Kerala assembly.

File photo of Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala

Highlighting 'lapses' in the preparation of list of priority households which were eligible to receive free food grains and printing of the ration cards, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala referred to inclusion of names of state Forest Minister K Raju and MLA M Noushad in the list.  

Intervening, Raju said he had surrendered the ration card to officials in view of the 'mistake' and the process of correction was on. Earlier, the UDF sought to raise the issue of anomalies by way of an adjournment motion.  

Replying to the notice for the motion, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman admitted that there were mistakes in the preparation of priority list and ration cards, but said all steps were underway to correct the same.  

Seeking to turn the tables, he said the UDF when in power had not done anything to implement the the food security act in the state even though they had more than three years to carry out the work. The parliament passed the NFS in 2013 and UDF was in power till May 2016, he said.    

"It is true that some ineligible families have crept into the priority list. Steps are on to remove them from the list and finalise the priority list without any mistakes," he said.

After the draft priority list was published, more than 16 lakh complaints had been received and the final list was made after considering these, he said.  

But, again more than five lakh complaints had been received saying they were eligible to be included in priority list and the government was looking into them, he added.   More than 43,000 state government employees had surrendered their non-priority category ration cards voluntarily after an appeal by government in this regard, he said.  

"LDF government is trying its best to implement the act in the true spirit by ensuring that food grains reached the deserving people," he added.  

Attacking the government, Chennithala said it had become a routine for the present LDF government to blame the previous UDF for everything.  

"You (LDF) have come to power with the slogan that we will set right all problems... do it," the Congress leader said.  

After the reply of Food Minister, Speaker P Sreeramakrishnan disallowed leave for the motion. Dissatisfied with the reply and alleging failure on the part of the government to address the issue seriously, UDF members walkout of the House.

PTI

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