The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha admits BPL glitches

Calcutta, March 27: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today almost admitted that it was not possible for the government to publish an accurate list of those living below the poverty line (BPL).

“It is very difficult to draw up a 100 per cent accurate list of the BPL,” he said while inaugurating a website of the panchayat and rural development department.

The chief minister said work on distribution of cards to those living below the poverty line had been temporarily put on hold in view of the coming panchayat elections.

“So far we have printed two crore cards and distributed 17 lakh. A list that we have drawn up is not yet final and the process will continue. I appeal to all political parties to co-operate with the government in drawing up a comprehensive BPL list,” he said.

Bhattacharjee said the state had started work on a fresh BPL list assuming that 36 per cent of the population was under the poverty line, but in the Ninth Plan period the percentage had climbed to 44.

Many problems have been dogging the process from the beginning. “From a few blocks we had received reports that 86 per cent (of people) were below the poverty line in those areas. We found the figures unbelievable and asked the district authorities to rectify them,” he said. The chief minister also admitted that there were still quite a few names on the list that should not be there.

Speaking about the website he launched, Bhattacharjee said it would have all relevant information about the three-tier panchayat system in Bengal. It will be of immense help to elected representatives who want to keep themselves well informed about activities under the panchayati raj.

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