Tripura government to protest Centre stopping sugar subsidy

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Agartala, April 13 (IANS) The ruling Left Front in Tripura has attacked the central government over the discontinuation of subsidy on sugar through the PDS scheme and threatened to launch an agitation.

“The BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)-led central government from this month (April) stopped giving subsidy on sugar being supplied through the PDS. BJP promised ‘acche din’ (good times) before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but is not delivering on that promise,” Tripura Left Front convener Khagen Das said.

“The BJP government at the Centre led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is cheating the people. After kerosene oil, the BJP-led Centre is now withdrawing subsidy on sugar, putting a huge burden on the ‘aam admi’ (common man).”

The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tripura unit vice-president Subal Bhowmik said his party would also launch an agitation if the Tripura government stops supplying sugar through the Public Distribution System.

“The Left government in Tripura is misleading the people about the central government’s sugar subsidy,” Bhowmik said.

The opposition Trinamool Congress and Congress have also threatened to launch stirs to protest the Tripura government’s decision to stop supply of sugar through PDS from May.

Tripura’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department Minister Bhanulal Saha said: “We have written many letters to the central government to continue the subsidy on sugar. If the central government stops giving subsidy on sugar, we will have to discontinue supply sugar through PDS from next month.”

With the central and state government’s subsidy, sugar given to consumers through PDS is at the rate of Rs 26 per kg against the market price of Rs 50 per kg.

An official of Tripura’s Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department said the central government in its current year (2017-18) budget has not made any allocation for the sugar subsidy.

The official said the union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ministry’s Department of Food and Public Distribution’s Chief Director G.S. Sahu in a circular to all states and union territories informed that reimbursing sugar subsidy scheme for the financial year 2017-18 onwards is under examination.

The Tripura government has been providing rice, wheat, sooji (semolina), sugar, kerosene and iodised salt to 925,694 families under the PDS.

“If the central government discontinues the subsidy on sugar, the state government will have to bear Rs 65.05 crore per year, and that is unbearable for the Tripura government,” the official added.

–IANS

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