As the entire country fights COVID-19, the fight of the poor still remains against hunger.
Many rural areas in the country are not receiving ration amid the nationwide lockdown which has been extended till May 3. In the state of Karnataka, the gram panchayats of various districts look forward receiving food grains allocated by the state government. As per the order, all the rural areas as well as poor workers, migrant labourers in urban areas are supposed to receive essential commodities and food grains during the lockdown.
Imtiyaz, an auto driver from Bailhongal Taluk of Belguam, has lost his only way of income. He said, “We have received only two kgs of rice and one kg of wheat. It has been 15 days since, and no one asked us again, it is a very hard time. I received Rs. 500 from the government in my bank account but ATMs do not have money”
Under the Public Distribution system, every BPL card holder is supposed to receive 5 kgs of food grains and 2 kgs of wheat. But, on April 4, 2020, a meeting of the Chief Minister of Karnataka with the ministers concluded that even the non- ration card holders will receive food grains and essential commodities. The Karnataka CM said special arrangements will be made to supply the food-grains. However, neither of the two are receiving it.
A farmer named Krishna from Bijapur district said, “we have received only 2 kgs of rice, but it was promised that we will receive five kgs. Usually in the Ration we used to receive seven kgs, now at this time when we don’t have work, the entire village is suffering from unemployment and hunger, this is very difficult to deal with.”
Basavaraj Bidrakundi from gram Panchayat of Muddebihal taluk in Bijapur district said, “Half of our taluk have not received food grains. We have distributed the stock that was available. Now we are waiting for government to provide us more food-grains. It has been delayed by the government.”
Minister of Food and Civil Supplies, K. Gopalaih said, “We have only distributed the Central government portion, which has covered 85% of population. We have not yet started distributing the state government portion of food grains. It will start only after this month. Earlier it was 7 kgs of rice, but now in this financial year we have to distribute 5 kgs of rice and 2 kgs of wheat. Now, the Government of India has given us the additional food grains, so, for further lockdown it will be distributed.”
Though the Central and State government is taking all the necessary measures to provide food grains in rural areas, there are still some issues to deal with.
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