Left moots campaign against Centre's cash transfer plan

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 11:00 hrs

Kolkata, Nov 23 (IANS) The opposition Left Front in West Bengal will from Dec 3 undertake a 50−day signature campaign across the state opposing cash transfer in place of foodgrain supply through the public distribution system in the proposed National Food Security Bill.

Front chairman Biman Bose told mediapersons here Friday that the legislation should provide for a universal public distribution system without dividing the people on the basis of the poverty line into APL (Above Poverty Line) and BPL (Below Poverty Line) categories.

The LF partners, who met during the day, also demanded that 35 kg of foodgrain should be provided at subsidised rate of Rs.2 per kg. "In cases where the price is less than Rs.2 per kg, that should be continued," Bose said after the meeting.

The campaign would end Jan 21 and a "minimum 1.5 crore signatures" will be collected, he said.

The Left Front partners would organise big and small rallies, street corner gatherings, and hold meetings before rural and urban markets to reach out to all sections of people.

"We will carry our campaign to all urban and rural localities inhabited by the poorer sections. Besides Bengali and Hindi, we will take our message to the masses through Urdu, Nepali, Odiya and Telugu," he said.

Bose said the programme will be launched in Kolkata Dec 3 and representatives from various classes of people − factory workers, domestic helps, hawkers, professors and intellectuals − will be invited to put their signatures.

The issue will be explained to the illiterate people for putting their thumb impressions, he said.

The National Food Security Bill (NFSB), 2011, a pet scheme of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, aims to guarantee grain at extremely cheap rate to over half of the population. It is now being scrutinised by a parliamentary standing committee.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath recently said the government was making an effort to bring the proposed food security bill in the ongoing winter session of parliament.

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