Report by Michael Rodrigues
Team Mangalorean Udupi
Udupi: The Left Parties staged protest at Taluk Office Udupi against price rise, and also demanded the right to food through a universal public distribution system on Thursday August 2.
The protesters said that, this Bill is designed to help multinational companies enter the agricultural production and food grains distribution sector. It is a ‘food insecurity Bill’, where the UPA government wanted to dismantle the public distribution system (PDS) designed to meet the food grain requirements of the poor. Instead of supplying food grains through this system, the Union government now wanted to provide direct subsidies to below the poverty line families and force them to purchase food grains from the open market.
Further they said that, by taking into consideration the high malnutrition level among children, particularly in rural areas, and the number of women suffering from anaemia, the Centre should initiate steps to increase intake of food grains in rural and urban areas by supplying subsidised food grains to all families.
The government should universalize ration cards, without taking into consideration whether the recipients were above or below the poverty line. The proposed Bill was to help MNCs and make all sections fully dependent on the retail market, irrespective of their income level.Protesters wanted the base of the PDS to be widened to supply 35 kg of food grains supplied at a subsidised price of Rs. 2 a kg to all families. The Union government was going to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector, State governments, were opening the agricultural sector to private corporations.
Protesters raised slogans against the Union government, and held' Rastha Roko' on this occasion, who later were taken into custody by the police.
Vishwanath Rai, Vidyaraj, Shekar Bangera, Keerthi Kumar Katapdadi, Sadananda Shetty, Ravi Poojary, Dayananda Kotian, Sudhakar Kotian and others were present during theprotest.