BJP spar over rice supply; BJP leaders including ex-CM Bommai detained for staging protest

Karnataka News Live: The row over supply of rice to Karnataka has picked up heat with the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP staging demonstrations in various parts of the state. Earlier, the Congress staged protests in all district headquarters of the state against the BJP led Centre for allegedly denying rice for the Karnataka government’s Anna Bhagya scheme.

On the other hand, Several BJP leaders including former CM Basavaraj Bommai were detained while holding protests in some parts of the state against the Congress government’s alleged failure to provide 10 kg rice to each member of the BPL family.

In the state capital, the Congress leaders staged demonstration amid heavy downpour. Addressing a gathering, Deputy Chief Minister and Congress state president D K Shivakumar said though the BJP led NDA government was trying to ‘disrupt’ the Anna Bhagya scheme, the state government will fulfill its election promise.

He accused the Centre of being ‘anti-poor’ and said it was creating obstacles in the implementation of the scheme to provide rice to the weaker section. The Congress has promised to increase the rice quantity to the families of the economically weaker section from five kg to 10 kg per person per household. However, the state was able to provide only five kg rice to each member of the BPL families so far, which is being supplied by the Centre.

However, the Centre said it cannot provide the additional five kg though Karnataka said it was ready to buy it from the central institutions such as Food Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation and NAFED.

Recently, the union government discontinued the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to state governments. According to an order issued by the Food Corporation of India (FCI), the sale of wheat and rice under the OMSS (domestic) for state governments is discontinued.

However, the sale of rice under the OMSS will be continued for northeastern states, hilly states and states facing law and order situations, natural calamities at an existing rate of Rs 3,400 per quintal, it said. The move comes amid the slow progress of the monsoon and rising prices of rice and wheat. Rice prices have increased by up to 10 per cent in the last one year at the mandi level and by 8 per cent in the last one month, as per official data.

According to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, the state needed 2.28 lakh metric tonnes of rice. The FCI had agreed on June 12 to provide the required quantity of rice but two days later, it backtracked, he alleged.

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