| Children eat from discarded packets of food meant for railway passengers at a slum area near the railway track in Guwahati. (AP) |
Agartala, July 16: Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar has criticised the Centre for promulgating the food security ordinance by evading parliamentary scrutiny and termed it a “nutrition destruction ordinance”.
Asserting that the provisions in the ordinance would only accentuate the rural-urban divide and destroy whatever food security people of this country now have, Sarkar said, “We had received a copy of the ordinance and conveyed our opinion to the Centre, demanding intensive discussion over it in Parliament, but the Centre ignored our demand and got the ordinance promulgated by the President.”
Addressing a conference of the Government Homeopathic Doctors’ Association at the Press Club auditorium here, the chief minister said, “In our letter we had suggested that each and every family in the country be given 35kg of rice and wheat every month but that was not accepted.”
He called upon the homeopaths to build public opinion against the harmful side of the ordinance.
Sarkar said the new ordinance, which would become a law within six months, would push 38 per cent of people out the public distribution system net. “In Tripura, 100 per cent of the population get the benefit of rationed food and PDS functioning in Tripura is next only to Himachal Pradesh in the country. But when the new ordinance comes into effect, at least 38 per cent of the population will be deprived of subsidised food,” Sarkar said.
He said once it was enforced, 50 per cent of people in urban areas and 25 per cent of rural residents would no longer have access to subsidised food that the ordinance sought to provide. The problem, he said was compounded by the fact that it was still not clear as to who would identify the people to be dropped from the list of beneficiaries.
Deploring that the ordinance would only accentuate inequalities among people in the country, Sarkar demanded its drastic amendment during discussions in Parliament within the next six months.