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Statewide campaign for dal-bhaat

Activists of Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand chapter, on Friday kicked off a statewide movement, demanding re-launch of Mukhyamantri Dal-Bhaat Yojana.

The activists and members of women self-help groups gathered at Birsa Chowk in Ranchi to create awareness among masses about the scheme and the Food Security Act, 2013, which Jharkhand is yet to implement. Similar programmes were organised in all the districts to mount pressure on the state government.

The flagship scheme, which was launched by then chief minister Arjun Munda in 2011, was discontinued from April in a massive jolt to lakhs of people living below the poverty line. Under the scheme, poor people used to get meal at Rs 5 once a day.

The state’s advisor to the Supreme Court on Right to Food cases, Balram, said it was a manmade crisis.

When the scheme was launched, the state cabinet had decided that rice would be purchased from FCI, which has now stopped the supply. “All that the government needs to do is to change the clause so that rice can be procured from open market in case FCI stops supply. There will not be much difference in the prices as the state was anyway buying rice at Rs 19 per kg from FCI. In open markets, it would be hardly one or two rupees more,” he argued.