Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday urged the Centre to change the criteria for allocation of `Chana whole’ from per household to per person, to ensure equitable distribution of foodgrain among the migrants amid the Covid lockdown.
The Chief Minister has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking directions to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to this effect, as the existing guidelines of the Ministry would create problems for the migrants, as well as the state government.
The Chief Minister thanked the Prime Minister for acceding his request, as per letter dated March 30, 2020, to extend the benefit of food grains and pulses under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) to the migrants, whose plight he had highlighted. The Union Finance Minister has since made an announcement to this effect, benefiting 8 crore migrant workers across the country he noted.
However, as per the guidelines issued on May 15 by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, while wheat was to be distributed at 5 kg per person per month for a period of two months, `Chana whole’ would be distributed at 1 kg per household per month for the said period.
This meant that while the benefit of wheat would be extended to migrants equivalent to 10% of existing NFSA beneficiaries in the State of Punjab i.e. 14.1 Lakh migrants, that of Chana whole would benefit only 3.6 lakh migrant households, he pointed out.
Since a vast majority of migrant workers travel without their families, extending the concept of household in the state where they are temporarily residing does not make much sense, Captain Amarinder pointed out.
Further, the two sets of instructions related to distribution of wheat and Chana have created a situation whereby the State shall be required to distribute 14.1 lakh packets of wheat along with only 3.6 lakh packets of Chana, he further noted.
“Understandably, a large number of migrant workers who are residing without families in Punjab would get the allocation of wheat but they would not get any Chana. And conversely some individual migrants would get Chana intended to be distributed to a household of 4 persons, which would lead to discontentment amongst a major chunk of migrants” he added.