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Angara protests delay in foodgrain supply

Angara (Ranchi), June 20: The Re 1 per kg food scheme of the Arjun Munda government has come under fire in Angara block with villagers claiming that they did not receive grains in April and May.

A field survey conducted by a team of students under the leadership of rights activist Jean Drèze corroborates the claims of the villagers, who hit the protest path today. Joined by Drèze, his associate and MGNREGS activist Ritika Khera, and other team members, they thronged the office of block development officer Premlata Murmu.

The state government provides 35kg of foodgrain to each BPL family under the public distribution system (PDS) every month.

About a week ago, they had written to deputy commissioner K.K. Soan, informing him about the problems and had asked him to come to their village to find out the truth.

Soan today sent deputy development commissioner S.K. Verma to hear out the villagers, who complained that they had not received their quota of foodgrain in April and May. “Today, we came to the block office to ask the officials why we have not been given rice for April and May,” said Sambhu Munda, a resident of Soso village. They also claimed that they did not get the entire 35kg of foodgrain. Usually, there were 2-3kg less.

Verma promised to ensure distribution of foodgrain for April and May by the end of this month.

Six students of Delhi University, during a sample survey of families in Angara block of Ranchi district, had found out that none of the beneficiaries in this area had received their quota for April and May.

The survey also revealed that a similar situation prevailed in the villages of Khunti and Dumka districts. Seventy-two families from three villages in each of these three districts were studied for the survey. The students, who are camping here from June 2, completed the survey today.

Drèze said 34 other students are conducting similar surveys in Bihar, Orissa, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh.

However, officials at the food and civil supplies department said money had been released for distributing foodgrain for April and May.

“The delay appears to be area-specific. The officials of respective districts and blocks should solve the problem,” said Dayanand Mahli, joint secretary of food and civil supplies department.

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