The Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab has offered to supply rice to Karnataka after the Food Corporation of India stopped its sale to the states, The Hindu reported on Monday.
The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government in Karnataka had sought 2.28 lakh metric tonnes of rice from the Food Corporation of India to supply under the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Under the scheme, the state government plans to increase the free food grains to every member of the below poverty line from the current 5 kg to 10 kg. The move was among the “five guarantees” that have been at the centre of the Congress’ poll campaign in the state. The scheme is scheduled to launch on July 1.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the Food Corporation had initially agreed to supply the required amount of rice on June 12. However, the Central government issued a directive discontinuing the sale of wheat and rice from the food security body stocks to state governments, according to The Indian Express.
While the chief minister alleged the move was political, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution claimed the decision was taken to keep a check on the prices, according to The Indian Express.
Since then, the Karnataka government has been attempting to procure rice from Chattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
On Monday, the Aam Aadmi Party unit in Karnataka said that its government in Punjab was ready to assist in resolving the rice shortage issue, reported the Hindustan Times.
Prithivi Reddy, the in charge of the Aam Aadmi Party’s Karnataka unit, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has assured Siddaramaiah of help in a phone call.
“It is unfortunate that the foodgrains are rotting in godowns, and the Centre is showing step-motherly attitude towards the non-BJP ruled states,” Reddy said, according to The Hindu. “AAP has come forward to help because the scheme is aimed at mitigating the problems of the poor.”
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janta Party MP Tejasvi Surya accused the Congress of misleading the state. He said that the Karnataka government had written to the Food Corporation of India four days after the Central government decided to prohibit the sale of grains to states, according to The Indian Express.
Congress, BJP stage demonstrations
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday staged demonstrations against the Congress on the issue.
In Bengaluru, several leaders of the BJP, including former Chief Minister Basavraj Bommai were detained during the protests, reported PTI. “This is anti-democratic and the Congress government has failed,” Bommai said.
On the other hand, Congress leaders too staged a demonstration against the Central government for allegedly denying rice for the Anna Bhagya scheme.
Addressing a gathering, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar accused the Centre of being “anti-poor” and alleged it was creating obstacles in the implementation of the scheme to provide rice to the weaker section, according to PTI.