West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asked why the UPA government was in a hurry to legislate the Food Security Bill when its continuance was in doubt, while denying that Trinamool Congress was opposed to it.
“Congress is saying that they are going to pass the National Food Security Bill and the Trinamool Congress is obstructing it,” Ms. Banerjee told a panchayat election meeting here in Bankura district.
“You (UPA government) have not done it for over four years and now when it is time for immersion what is the hurry?” she asked.
“We support the Food Security Bill. But the Centre should ensure it reaches the people,” she said, doubting the efficacy of the proposed cash transfer in lieu of food grains when banking facilities were unavailable in remote areas.
Questioning if it was feasible for a villager to spend Rs 40 on transport to go to collect Rs 12, she said that her government was already providing rice at Rs 2 per kg in Junglemahal despite its limited financial resources.
Claiming that it was a ‘political gimmick’ and that the Centre did not have the required funds to implement the scheme across the country, she said “the responsibility of food security should be left by the Centre to the states.”
Dwelling on her party quitting the UPA on allowing FDI in retail and other “anti-people” policies, she said her party had allied with the Congress after assurance from it at the time that it would not compromise with the CPI(M).
“But I found that they did not change,” she added.
She reiterated that the Centre was taking away huge interest on loans taken by the former Left Front government.