Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], January 6 (ANI): Biju Janta Dal on Friday demanded the resumption of free food distribution under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in Odisha.
This comes after the Union government in December last year announced the discontinuation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) from January 1, this year.
Addressing a press conference, BJD Rajya Sabha MP and National Spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, "10 kgs of rice per person per month was being provided to 3.25 crore people of Odisha, 5 kg under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and 5 kg under PMGKAY. However, the Centre has now stopped the PMGKAY. The Centre stopping 5kg free rice/person per month under PMGKAY will badly affect the poor and farmers. It will adversely affect individual households and families."
He claimed that stopping PMGKAY will severely affect the food security of the poor and paddy procurement and MSP of farmers.
"Individual families like Malkangiri's Sanjukta Mandal's family of 5 members used to get 50 kgs rice per month will now get only 25 kgs per month, drastically affecting the family. Poor people especially needed PMGKAY support after COVID Many eligible families of Odisha are deprived and should be included in the programme," he said.
"Poor people especially needed PMGKAY support after COVID Many eligible families of Odisha are deprived and should be included in the programme," the BJD leader added.
He further stated that after the COVID pandemic and all savings were exhausted, the poor needed the PMGKAY support for a much longer time.
"Its stopping will burden them and their families massively. Why is the Centre slashing the food security of the poor?" he asked.
Stating that the farmers were benefitting due to PMGKAY, he said that they face a "grave challenge" due to the Centre stopping the scheme.
"Additional 5 kgs rice per person led to rice procurement by Centre; thereby the farmers could sell their surplus rice and benefit from the MSP paid to them towards it. Now the farmers of Odisha face a grave challenge due to the Centre stopping the PMGKAY. No more additional procurement of rice, no more MSP to farmers. Where will they sell their produce?" he said.
The BJD leader demanded the inclusion of many eligible families of Odisha who are "deprived" in the programme and claimed that the Centre has not considered them even after so many years. (ANI)