Continue foodgrain supply to tea gardens, Gogoi urges Modi

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to continue the system of allocating bulk foodgrain to the tea gardens in the state till the implementation of the National Food Security Mission.

Gogoi, in the letter, said suspension of the system of allocating bulk foodgrain to the tea gardens will affect the families of over 20 lakh tea garden workers, the Chief Minister's Office here said Sunday.

He said Assam received a letter Nov 23 from the consumer affairs, food and public distribution ministry that said the allocation of 7,600 tonnes of rice and 5,000 tonnes of wheat to tea gardens in Assam will be stopped from Jan 1, 2015.

"This will affect the tea garden workers in Assam and might lead to a law and order situation, particularly in tea garden areas of the state," Gogoi said.

The allocation system has been in place in Assam for over 60 years.

The gardens collect the foodgrain, including rice and wheat, from the government and distribute it among the workers at 50-55 paisa per kg of foodgrain.

The chief minister also said the state had not been able to implement the National Food Security Mission so far due to the ministry's recent imposition of a pre-condition to digitise the whole process before the Act's implemention.

However, there is no pre-condition of digitisation of the whole process in the National Food Security Act 2013, he said.

"The state is ready, sans the digitisation, to implement the NFSM and it should be allowed immediately to implement the NFSM. I request you to continue with the system of allocating the bulk foodgrain to the tea gardens of Assam till the NFSM is implemented," Gogoi said in the letter.

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