Former Assam CM demands BPL rice for flood-hit farmers

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Guwahati, Sep 25 (UNI) Former Assam Chief Minister and AGP(P) chief Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today demanded BPL rice for all the flood-affected farmers in the state and criticised the present Congress government for ''failing'' to control the inflation.

Addressing newspersons here, Mr Mahanta said, '' The government has totally failed to control the skyrocketing prices of essentials.'' Identifying two reasons for the government's failure, he said, '' The government has no control over the distribution system and also failed to identify the actual reason for the price rise. '' He alleged that fund under the National Calamity and Relief Fund had not been properly utilised.

Mr Mahanta also said the 9600 ton rice, asked from the FCI under Disaster Management and Relief, would not be adequate to cover even ten per cent of the affected people.

Taking a dig at the state government for ''failing'' to build adequate cold storage and other such facilities for perishable commodities, he further said, '' This has resulted in decreasing buffer stock and leading to escalation of prices. '' He said the levy of VAT and agricultural tax on various essentials had also led to diminish buffer stock. The state had also lost trade with other states, which was providing better tax relaxation.

The former Chief Minister demanded that the flood-affected farmers should be provided with Below Poverty Line (BPL) rice.

He said, ''The state cannot provide rice on its own but there is provision for the state government to ask the Centre to sanction it.'' UNI

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