Tripura to continue supplying sugar through PDS: Manik Sarkar

Agartala, June 26 (IANS) The Tripura government will continue supplying sugar at subsidised rate through ration shops despite the central government’s decision to stop giving sugar as a Public Distribution System (PDS) commodity, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said Wednesday.

“The recent decision of the central government to discontinue supply of sugar through the PDS from this month is a part of the government’s plan to abolish the system. This is an unprecedented attack on the common people,” Sarkar told reporters here.

The chief minister said that to provide some relief to the PDS consumers in rural as well as urban areas, one kg of sugar would be provided to each ration card holder at the subsidised price of Rs.13.50 per kg against the market price of Rs.43 per kg.

“The additional financial burden will be borne by the state government,” he added.

“The Left Front government has already communicated to the central government its concerns over the discontinuation of sugar supply through the PDS. We have demanded that northeastern states be kept out from this decision. But the centre has remained unheeded,” Sarkar said.

“The central government told the states that it wanted to give financial support of Rs.18.50 per kg to the consumers. But compared to the market price of sugar, this support is very less,” he added.

“After decontrolling the prices of petroleum products, the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government is trying to abolish the PDS for the benefit of big businessmen, sugar mill owners and industrialists,” said Sarkar, who is a politburo member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The central government recently decided to remove the levy obligation on sugar mills, under which every sugar mill had to surrender 10 percent of its production to the central government at a pre-determined price, enabling the government to get access to low-cost sugar stocks for distribution through the PDS.

The removal of the levy obligation was a long pending demand of the sugar mill owners.

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