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COVID-19: Odisha CM seeks extension of free rice distribution by another eight months

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In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he pointed out that vulnerable sections of population required free foodgrains as the impact of COVID-19 was yet to fully fade away.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has urged the Centre to consider extending additional allocation of rice at least for the next eight months under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for its free distribution.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he pointed out that vulnerable sections of population required free foodgrains as the impact of COVID-19 was yet to fully fade away.

Mr. Patnaik thanked Mr. Modi for providing seven months’ rice free of cost under PMGKAY for distribution to National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries in the State from May 2021 to November 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic period.

“Provision of foodgrains free of cost to people at this critical juncture ensured that not a single needy and vulnerable person was deprived of foodgrains during the pandemic,” he said in the letter circulated on November 21.

“Odisha has prioritised distribution of seven months’ quota of PMGKAY-III foodgrains to the NFSA beneficiaries and completed it by November 5, 2021. Similar facility was also extended to all the beneficiaries of the State covered under its own food security scheme,” Mr. Patnaik said.

Stating that the effect of COVID-19 had not waned yet completely despite a fast-paced vaccination drive undertaken across the State as cases of new infection continued to surface, the Odisha CM said, “other economic activities are yet to reach the pre-pandemic level as a result of which people still struggle to lead a normal life with sustainable means of livelihood.”

“Under the prevailing situations, it is felt highly necessary that the Government must provide relief to the vulnerable during these critical hours. A serious cause of concern in this ongoing pandemic scenario is the challenge of food security to the needy and vulnerable,” he asserted.

Mr. Patnaik said adequate foodgrains were available at present with the Government. He requested the Prime Minister to consider extension of additional allocation of rice at least for the next eight months under PMGKAY for distribution among the beneficiaries under NFSA till the pandemic situation improved and complete normalcy was restored in the State.



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