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Duare ration: Section of dealers opposed to scheme

Instead, the aggrieved members have decided to maintain the Public Distribution System (PDS) from their respective outlets on the day when the CM Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the outreach mission.

Statesman News Service | Burdwan/Behrampore |

West Bengal’s much ambitious ‘Duare Ration’ scheme, scheduled to be flagged off by the chief minister on 16 November, may face difficulties since a section of the ration dealers have vowed not to take part, alleging that the state ignored their demands for higher commissions and disbursement of additional expenses incurred on transportation, safety and security of the food articles.

Instead, the aggrieved members have decided to maintain the Public Distribution System (PDS) from their respective outlets on the day when the CM Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the outreach mission.

A section of the West Bengal MR Dealers’ Association held a meeting at Gangpur in Burdwan East yesterday evening where 200 council members from 14 South Bengal districts joined and discussed the issue.

Biplab Majumdar, state joint secretary of the organisation said: “We had participated in the pilot project of ‘Duare Ration’ but the state hasn’t cleared the commission against the distribution as of yet. Dues are still not cleared for the months from August, 2020 to November 2020 alongside the seven months due from April, 2021 of the current fiscal year.”

He added, “The state has remained indifferent about our demand for an ‘enhanced’ rate of commission.” However, the ration dealer association has seen a sharp split on the issue as Paresh Hazra, president of the organization, claimed: “Out of 1300 ration dealers in Burdwan East, 1100 have agreed to take part in the state’s mission. A faction of the dealers is trying to destabilize the project.”

The district Food Controller for Burdwan East, Abir Bali meanwhile told The Statesman, “Due commission of every dealer is being cleared and it’s a continuous process. Majority of dealers haven’t shown reluctance in participation.”

Meanwhile, the CM would address the ration dealers’ conference that day, said the district food controller (Murshidabad), Sudipta Kumar Samanta. “We are sending 400 dealers from Murshidabad district to attend the CM’s event”, he said. Significantly, ration dealers across the state were at loggerheads with the government over the implementation of ‘Duare Ration’.

The dealers’ forum also moved the High Court but failed to obtain any order against the state government. Meanwhile, the doorstep rationing programme has been partially implemented on experimental basis in some select blocks of the state, sources said.

The CM’s conference with the ration dealers is expected to iron out differences paving way for full-scale enforcement of ‘Duare Ration’ as part of the state government’s innovative agenda of doorstep governance.

“This year in Murshidabad district we have set a target of procuring 4.42 lakh metric tons of paddy at the rate of Rs.1940 per quintal (which is MSP or minimum support price). We are ready with all sorts of logistics support required for paddy procurement”, officials said.