BTC chief to provide food grains to BPL families from today

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UPPL sees red at Hagrama’s corona bonanza

HT Correspondent

KOKRAJHAR, March 25: Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) has decided to distribute essential commodities at the free of cost to the people below the poverty line (BPL) living in BTAD during the 21-day countrywide lockdown, a move which was opposed by United People’s Party Liberation (UPPL).

The announcement was made by BTC chief and Bodo People’s Front (BPF) president Hagrama Mohilary at a time when the BTC will go to polls in April-end. The election, which was scheduled to be held on April 4, was postponed as a preventive measure to check the spread of coronavirus in the area.

Hours after the announcement, the UPPL has submitted a separate complaint before Governor Jagdish Mukhi and the State Election Commissioner (SEC) Alok Kumar to immediately stop the move of BTC chief.

“During 21-day lockdown the BTC administration will provide rice, dal, salt and mustard oil at free of costs to the daily wage earners in four districts of BTAD,” Mohilary said addressing a press conference at Gaurang Valley Hotel here on Wednesday.

A total 5.5 lakh families living four BTAD districts will be getting rice, dal, salt and mustard oil during 21-day lockdown.

Each of family will get 25 kg rice, two kg dal, 500 ml mustard oil for 21 days for stay in homes during the lockdown from Thursday.

“A good number of volunteers have been engaged to distribute the items to the people in consultation with village headman,” Mohilary said.

He said that 10 lakh masks and sanitizers have been ordered to make supply for the peoples of the region.

Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement for 21-day lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus across the country, Mohilary said it is the only way to save the people of the country from the dreaded virus.

“We advise the people to stay home during these days. We are providing all essential commodities to the BPL people so that they need not come out for work during these days,” Mohilary said.

Meanwhile, UPPL president Pramod Boro opposed the announcement of Mohilary and said it is not justified at a time when the BTC is heading for elections.

“It is a gross violation of Code of Conduct for the elections. No welfare or development scheme can be announced when the election procedure is going on. We have submitted separate complaints before Governor and State Election Commissioner in this regard,” Boro told The Hills Times.

“Hagrama Mohilary, who is the BPF candidate for Debargaon and Kachugaon Constituencies through a press conference openly announced new schemes to distribute free ration items such as 25 kg rice for each family, 5kg lentils, mustard oil, mask and hand sanitizers. This is a clear and direct violation of Clause 6 of Election Model Code of Conduct. This move by Mohilary will lead to competition amongst various political parties to distribute such items resulting into chaos and defeating the very purpose of nationwide 21 days lock down announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. If this happens, this will only help spread the deadly COVID-19 virus causing mass pandemic and loss of life in BTC region,” Boro said in a letter to the Governor.

“We earnestly request you, being the constitutional head of BTC, to take firm control of the situation and direct the appropriate authorities to take preventive steps which will not only help conduct BTC election in free and fair manner but will also prevent spread of coronavirus thereby achieve the purpose of lockdown,” Boro said.

“We will support relief measures under taken by the civil administration devoid of any political influences at this hour of election. We would indeed request you to direct chief secretary to take appropriate action to support poor and needy during the lockdown so that not a single person suffers due to the complete lockdown,” he added.

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