Government sources said that more than 32,000 students were affected by a sudden stop in supply of foodgrains, specifically rice and wheat.

Facing backlash Ktaka govt to resume supply of foodgrains to welfare institutionsRepresentation Photo
news Public Health Wednesday, February 05, 2020 - 17:39

Poor students, especially from SC/ST and OBC backgrounds, who reside in government-aided and religious welfare institutions in Karnataka, have been struggling for the past two months after the government stopped supply of foodgrains. 

For some, the supply stopped in November, while others suffered from December onwards. Only after the Opposition raised its voice on the issue, did the state government do something to rectify the situation.

Following this, a Cabinet meeting was held and the Minister for Women and Child Development Shashikala Jolle said that the state will resume the supply of foodgrains.

Government sources said that more than 32,000 students were affected by a sudden stop in the supply of foodgrains, specifically rice and wheat. Institutions like the Siddaganga Mutt in Tumakuru, and the Chitradurga Muruga Rajendra mutt were among those affected. The crisis was precipitated after orders to stop the supply were reportedly issued by the Centre, Deccan Herald reported. The state government was reportedly complying with an order from the Centre, which had banned supply of free foodgrains to private and aided institutions, from December 2019 onwards.

Doreswamy, administrator at the Muruga Rajendra Mutt in Chitradurga said, "For the past two years, we were getting a supply of rice and wheat from the Food and Civil Supplies department, but it stopped from the past three months. We were managing on whatever we grow in the land belonging to the Mutt, and purchased from donations of the devotees."

He added that in January, they had requested the government for assistance. "Every month, we hold mass marriages in our premises. In January, Shashikala Jolle, Minister of Food and Civil Supplies, attended the mass marriage and we asked for help."

Vishwanath, administrative officer at the Siddaganga Mutt, said, “We couldn’t let the boys go hungry and had to do something. We got some paddy, milled it, and fed that to the students.”

However, action from the government came only when the Opposition spoke out on the issue.

Congress MLA UT Khader, slammed the government for not providing food to the social welfare institutions, calling it inhumane, regardless of the nature of the institutions.

“Instead of taking forward the schemes we (the Congress) made, this (BJP-led) government is trying to remove these pro-people schemes. This is an inhumane government,” he said at a press conference in Bengaluru on Tuesday. 

UT Khader served as the Minister of Food and Civil Supplies in Siddaramaiah's cabinet when the Anna Bhagya scheme was introduced.

The state will now have to allocate the funds from its own budget. The Hindu reported that this would cost an extra Rs 18 crore to the exchequer. The Karnataka government is set to release its budget on March 5.



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