People protested in Salar and Lalgola areas in West Bengal's Murshidabad district on Saturday, alleging the PDS outlets were giving them a lesser quantity of foodgrains and those were also of inferior quality. The agitating locals put up road blockades and burnt tyres in Salar, police said, adding that the situation has been brought under control and no arrests were made.
The ration dealer in Lalgola was been suspended, sources said. Local Congress MP Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that such irregularities in the functioning of the public distribution system (PDS) have been taking place in some areas in the recent times.
He said people are not getting the right quantity of foodgrains for which they are eligible due to misappropriation by some sections. "The Centre announced an additional quantity of rice and pulses to be distributed through the PDS due to the COVID-19 outbreak, while the state also promised to give 5 kg of rice to the people," Chowdhury said.
Our question is why the people are not getting that amount although there are plenty of foodgrains available in the godowns across the country, he said. Chowdhury alleged that PDS in West Bengal is "most corrupt" among the departments of the state government for which the chief minister had to replace its secretary.
"This only shows the inefficiency and incapability of the food and supplies minister. I urge him to look into the alleged irregularities rather than blaming others," he said. State Food and Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said the allegations are politically motivated and baseless.
However, the minister said the incident at Salar will be probed. State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the party has been vocal against the alleged irregularities in the functioning of the PDS in the state for long.