West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday inaugurated the “DuareRation” (ration at doorstep) scheme, saying it will benefit around 10 crore of people of the state.
She said her government has decided to enhance the commission for ration dealers from Rs 75 to Rs 150 per quintal of food grains.
“This Duare Ration scheme will help 10 crore people of the state. I will request all the ration dealers to make it a success. From now on, over 10 crore people in the state will be getting their ration at their doorstep on a fixed day of every month,” she said.
Each dealer will be allowed to appoint at least two persons who will help them in delivering ration.
“They will be getting a salary of Rs 10,000 per month. The government will pay Rs 5,000 and the rest will be paid by the dealer. So, for 21,000 dealers, 42,000 jobs will be created…Local youth will be also benefited,” she said.
The government would have to spend Rs 160 crore for this, the chief minister said.
She said the government would provide around 21,000 ration dealers with financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each to purchase vehicles for delivering ration to people in this way.
On the distribution process, Ms Banerjee said, “I think taking to each doorstep is quite a tough job. It will take at least one year to complete one locality. We can divide one stretch of a road into four parts and distribute ration to the people there. The locals need to be informed about the distribution beforehand.”
Stating that the state would be requiring more ration dealers, the Chief Minister announced that the working capital to apply for a ration dealer would be lowered from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 50,000.
“This will help more and more people apply for ration dealership. Many youth can enroll themselves for the same. Women too can apply for the same,” she said.
The Trinamool Congress chief requested the ration dealers not to move court objecting to the plan.
“Our government is looking after the interest of the people. It’s our job and since you are also looking after them, we will take care of your concerns,” she said.
A section of dealers had moved the Calcutta High Court against the scheme but their plea was junked.
Ms Banerjee had announced the “Duare Ration” scheme, under which dealers would deliver ration at the doorstep of the beneficiaries, before the assembly elections held in March-April this year.
At the programme, Ms Banerjee also inaugurated a WhatsApp chatbot for the Food and Supplies Department of the state government and a mobile application, “Khadya Sathi: Amar Ration Mobile App” to help people apply for ration cards and get information about how to do it.
She also inaugurated a programme for portability of ration cards using which people would be able to get ration from any shop anywhere in the state.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)