Ration goods will be delivered at the doorstep of over 10.4 crore people every month from now onwards and Bengal is the only state to providefree food grains to the entire population, said chief minister Mamata Banerjee while rolling out the ‘Duare Ration’ doorstep ration programme at Netaji Indoor Stadium today.
Announcing a host of sops for the ration dealers, some of whom had been protesting against the programme citing logistics problems, Banerjee termed them as ‘anna dhatri’ and said it is a kind of service to mankind and a humanitarian work to deliver food grains at home. “I cannot give anything more at this moment. Please do not hesitate or stop working or oppose this programme. I’ll go ahead with the work and do as I had promised. I want more youths to get involved in this programme. Let’s try to make this programme a success and the credit for which will go to all my ration dealers, distributors and ration shop staff,” she said at a programme with ration dealers, rice mill owners, DMs and food department officials.
Banerjee said that in order to expedite the delivery process, which otherwise may be delayed if the dealer visited each and every house, while delivering ration under ‘Duare Ration’ programme, dealers will have to park their vehicles in a locality and all people residing within 500 metres will collect their food grains. The ration dealer would have to intimate consumers through SMS about the date and time of delivery and in case a person fails to collect his allotted food grains on that day then he/she should be allowed to collect his quota from another locality, she said.
To help ration dealers to undertake the delivery process smoothly, the state government has allowed engagement of two staff per ration dealer to assist him in onloading and offloading the ration. “As there are 21 lakh ration dealers across the state, a total of 42 lakh staff would be engaged. Each such staff would be paid a salary of Rs 10,000 a month of which Rs 5,000 would be paid by the state government and the remaining 50 per cent by the respective ration dealer. This would cost an additional Rs 160 crore to our state exchequer,” she said.
Banerjee announced Rs one lakh subsidy for ration dealers to buy their own vehicles for delivering ration. She further said that the state government has already announced a hike in the commission rate from Rs 75 to Rs 100 per quintal for the ration dealers and the working capital for applying for dealerships has also been decreased from Rs five to one lakh.
“I think this dealership fee should be further reduced to Rs 50,000 and this will enable more youths to take up this job,” she said adding that dealers are also provided Rs 2.50 per ration card for linking it with Aadhar number. On the occasion, Banerjee launched ‘Khadya Sathi Amar Ration Mobile App’ and a whatsapp chat box (9903055505) facility wherein consumers can get information about their ration cards as well as application for new cards and other services that are offered.
Again, consumers can also lodge their complaints here. She launched an intra-state ration facility that will enable consumers to lift their ration from anywhere across the state.Banerjee slammed the BJP for criticising West Bengal for alleged lawlessness and urged the saffron party to check the state of affairs at states run by it namely Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Tripura.