Friday, April 27, 2007

Maoists prosper amid ‘prosperity’

Statesman News Service

KOLKATA, April. 26.- The twin districts of Purulia and Bankura, where the Maoists have made considerable inroads taking advantage of the abject poverty among sizable section of the population there, have ironically far less number of people living below the poverty line.

This startling revelation was made at a high power meeting at Writers’ Buildings today attended by the chief minister and the panchayat and food and supplies ministers, among others, to discuss the modalities for distribution of BPL cards.
The state government had made a door-to-door survey in all the districts for about a year to assess the extent of below poverty line population in the wake of complaints that many above poverty line had got cards while many others below poverty line had been excluded. The CM later told reporters he had instructed concerned departments to make the list as fool proof as possible. The assessment was made with the support of video footage on the basis of 12 items owned by the people. For each item 5 marks was allotted and those scoring up to 33 marks were considered to belong to the BPL group. Mr Paresh Adhikary, minister for food and supplies, said the findings for Purulia and Bankura had “really” been surprising. The number of people below poverty line in the two districts must be more than what the survey shows, he admitted. A fresh survey would be made there. The meeting decided that verification of the eligibility of over 2.5 crore people who have already got BPL cards would be made during May on the basis of the cut-off 33 marks. Those who would qualify would be allowed to use the cards, while those who won’t would be denied the benefit.
Fresh cards would be issued to those so long excluded, if their socio-economic conditions are within the BPL limits. Mr Suryakanta Mishra, minister for rural development, said the meeting also decided to review the coverage of 100 days work provided to the rural poor under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Ten districts have been covered and the benefits are being spread to seven others, Mr Mishra added.

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