West Bengal’s government, led by Mamata Banerjee, has reached out to the Food Corporation of India (FCI), urging the supply of over 1.9 lakh tonnes of rice in February 2024, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, to sustain the state’s affordable grain program. This communication signals concern within the state government about the sluggish progress in paddy procurement, potentially impacting the distribution of inexpensive grain to beneficiaries before the upcoming polls.
Paddy procurement commenced on November 1 after the monsoon season, with a target of collecting 70 lakh tonnes. However, as of now, only 3.38 lakh tonnes have been procured, raising worries within the state administration. The goal is to cover 80% of the target by February, but the current pace is lagging compared to the corresponding period in 2022 when the state had already procured over 4.50 lakh tonnes. The state secretariat, Nabanna, recognizes the need for expedited procurement to meet the looming challenge of ensuring an adequate supply of affordable grain to the populace.