Mumbai: Maharashtra minister Nitin Raut on Friday urged Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to provide ration even to those people in the state who do not possess ration cards so that they are saved from starvation during the ongoing lockdown.
In a letter to Thackeray, the Energy Minister said that thousands of people residing in slums do not have ration cards.
Most of them are industrial workers, laborers, cycle rickshaw-pullers, autorickshaw drivers, sanitary workers, scavengers, homeless persons living on footpaths, orphans, brick kiln workers, construction workers, boot polishers, coolies and sugarcane laborers.
“The lockdown has rendered them jobless and they are now starving,” he added.
As they do not have any type of ration card, they are not covered under the National Food Security Act 2013. Hence, it is a desperate situation for them, which needs to be addressed at the earliest, Raut said.
He urged Thackeray to make necessary changes in the state policy to cover them under National Food Security Act with immediate effect.
“The beneficiaries covered under this Act are provided food under the PDS. They belong to the weaker sections of the society, including below poverty line, above poverty line and other economically weaker sections,” he said.
Following the lockdown due to COVID-19, the state government has made arrangements to provide food supplies to the weaker sections of the society, who possess ration cards.
They will be provided ration for a period of three months through the PDS, the minister said.
Those who do not have any kind of ration cards are not covered under the Act. They cannot be provided food through the PDS, Raut added.
He urged the chief minister to allow the legislators to spend Rs 25 lakh from the MLA fund to provide food to them at the earliest to save such people from starvation.
He also requested Thackeray to instruct the cable TV operators not to disconnect the cable on failure of monthly payments from the subscribers. He said that they should collect the subscriptions after one month.