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West Bengal: The CPM rationing rationale exposed

Posted by Indian Vanguard on September 19, 2007

Kanchan Siddiqui

BANKURA, Sept. 18: Many ration shops at Bankura are not only owned by CPI-M cadres, but stocks from most of these stores are regularly smuggled out and sold in the open market. This startling revelation has been made in a preliminary inquiry report prepared by the CPI-M district leadership at the behest of the party state committee.

The disclosure adds a new twist to the violent reaction of villagers on 16 September at Sonamukhi, Bankura, against some CPI-M local leaders for not doing anything to ensure regular supply of food stuff through the ration shops. The party district secretariat has already sent the report to CPI-M state secretary Mr Biman Bose. A series of attacks on ration dealers had prompted the CPI-M state committee to seek a detailed report from its district secretary Mr Amio Patra. It may not be a coincidence that the LF committee, during the day, decided to stage a series of protests against price hike ~ blaming it all on the Centre. It’s possible that the party switched its demonstration gear because the realisation has sunk in that protests against the nuclear deal wouldn’t drum up as much public support.

Mr Patra, has listed a number of reasons in his preliminary report which, according to him, “might have made the locals revolt”. Mr Narayan Dutta, a ration dealer of Kotalpukur is a CPI-M cadre. His nephew is the unit secretary of the party in that area while Narayan’s elder brother, Mr Hironmoy Dutta runs the largest grocery shop located just across the ration shop.
Narayan’s ration shop never stocks up “enough” but the grocery shop does extremely well as hapless customers have no option but to shop at Mr Hironmoy Dutta’s shop. Mr Patra said: “I have let Bimanda know this.”

Mr Patra doesn’t agree, though, that corruption-ridden party ranks could be responsible for the public outrage over the inadequate public distribution system in the district.

CM slams Forward Bloc
The CM today took a dig at the Forward Bloc, which holds the food and supplies portfolio, during the Left Front meeting. Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said a large section of ration shop owners have turned out to be corrupt. FB leaders reportedly kept mum.


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