MUMBAI: The Central government’s decision to stop supply of foodgrains at subsidised rates to SC/ST and backward class hostels affected more than 2 lakh children in the State. The State government has urged the Union government to restart the scheme for the poor children in the State.
The Central government stopped supply of foodgrains to the SC/ST and backward class hostels run by non-government organisations in the State for last few months. The officials said the reason is a strong doubt that the State is using the foodgrains for other purposes.
Every year, the Central government sanctions 65,714 tonnes of foodgrains to old age homes, beggars’ rehabilitation centres, refugee centres and hostels under social welfare schemes, out of which the State get 39,000 tonnes per year.
Chhagan Bhujbal, Minister for Food and Civil Supply said the State government has received feedback from the hostels that they are not getting foodgrains from the Central government at subsidised rate, hence many children from poor families are being deprived of their daily food.
Bhujbal wrote to the Central government’s Food and Civil, Supply Secretary to restart the supply.
“There are 2,289 hostels run by private institutions in the State, where 2,19,151 children are getting their daily meals. The State government had saved 10 per cent of the foodgrains in last two years under various schemes. The institutions also used Point of Sale Device machines to procure the foodgrains, so there is no chance of misuse of the foodgrains,” said Bhujbal.
The Central government used to supply foodgrains to old age homes and hostels under two schemes. However, to bring more transparency in the process, the two schemes were merged and the government asked for a list of institutions, hostels, and beneficiaries.
Under the scheme the government was providing foodgrains at subsidised rates to SC, ST and OBC students staying in hostels with 15 kg wheat or rice each month.