People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 16

April 27, 2008


Misinformation Campaign On Foodgrains Procurement In Bengal

B Prasant

THE central agricultural minister has resorted to fabrications to accuse wrongly the Bengal Left Front government on the issue of foodgrains procurement. Bengal finance minister Dr Asim Dasgupta has made it clear in a statement recently that in the entire country, Bengal is the only state where an amount of 12 lakh MT of rice and paddy have been collected from farmers.

The paddy was purchased directly from the farmers by the self-help groups. Thereafter, the paddy was made into rice and used by the members of the group following redistribution through the cooperative system.

Ironically enough, earlier, the central agricultural minister, on a visit to Bengal, had extended his congratulations to Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for the manner in which large quantities of rice and paddy were collected from the rural areas.

The state government has no doubt that it would be able to collect 15 lakh MT foodgrains this year. The public distribution system would be used as a vehicle for the distribution of the rice among the consumers. The surplus rice would be sent to the north-eastern states.

The central government on the other hand, has chosen recklessly to export rice and has taken away more than 12 lakh MT of rice from Bengal for this purpose, said Dr Dasgupta. The Bengal government was still able to procure an additional component of 4.3 lakh MT of rice.

The central government while causing losses to the state government has now chosen to blame the state government falsely. The permission given by the central government to the big corporations for rice procurement has caused a setback for the process of procurement in Bengal. The provisions of essential commoditiesí act are not implemented in the manner they are expected to be.

The wrong policies of the central government, said Dr Asim Dasgupta, were responsible for the sharp hike in the price of essential commodities, and it was no use falsely blaming the states for the situation.