Centre urged to release subsidised rice for migrant labourers

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies U T Khader has urged the Centre to release subsidised rice for migrant labourers who work in Karnataka.

Briefing reporters here on Tuesday, he said that if the Centre has any concern for the labour class, then it should release subsidised rice for migrant labourers from Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha who come to Karnataka in search of greener pastures.

"The people of the state get free rice under Anna Bhagya scheme. However, these poor migrant labourers are denied of such facilities," he said.

The minister said that he would write to the Centre to release subsidised rice for migrant labourers. "The department of food and civil supplies has been asked to collect statistics on migrant labourers working in Karnataka," he said.

He ridiculed the Opposition for initially criticising the Anna Bhagya scheme but later claiming that the project is their own scheme. It was the National Food Security Act that entitles 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains for citizens in India.

Accordingly, the Centre releases 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains per person for the respective state. Having realised 5 kg rice was not sufficient per person, the Congress-led Siddaramaiah government decided to give 7 kg rice per person free of cost.

Further, to ensure that poor are given proteins, the government has also started supplying tur dal to ration card holders at a subsidised rate, he said.

As elections are nearing, the Opposition is claiming success for the Anna Bhagya scheme so as to gain publicity, he alleged.

PoS machines

With regard to 80% of the fair price shops being under the Public Distribution System (PDS), Khader said Point of Sales machines have been installed in the state. To cut pilferage in the public distribution system (PDS), the government has decided to set up PoS machines in all fair price ration shops, he said. Once everything is streamlined, then the government also proposes to hike the commission for the fair price shop owners, he added.

The minister accused the Centre of deducting its share in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and National Health Mission.

In the last four years, no new buildings under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have come up in government schools in the state.

Row over food

On the row over food for participants in Sadhana samavesha at Byndoor being supplied from Kollur Mookambika temple, the minister said that as poor beneficiaries had attended the programme, the district administration had arranged for meals from the temple.

"Those who criticise it have not faced hunger in their life," he said.

'Misuse of social media'

He said that those who misuse social media are "anti-social elements".

"They are not patriots. The police should take tough action against them," the minister said.

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