The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
On PDS And West Bengal
The written statement issued by the Congress party through its spokesperson on the so-called food riots in West Bengal is as intemperate as it is ill-informed. There are no food riots in West Bengal although some elements who want a mahajot are doing everything possible to incite violence on the issue of ration distribution so as to disrupt the entire system. While the West Bengal government has taken stringent measures to end corruption in the system as evident by the large number of raids and arrests over the last year, the major problem is the huge cuts in allocations to the APL sections by the Central Government bringing it down to just over 3 per cent of the initial allocation.
It is an indication of the total disconnect between the Congress perceptions and the reality of widespread poverty, that the Congress states: “It is an anachronism to even talk of food riots in a country which is proud to flaunt a booming economy”. Unfortunately, in the “booming economy” 3500 tribal children in five districts of Maharashtra have died due to malnutrition in the last year. The Congress would do well to also study the recent report of the National Family Health Service which shows that malnutrition has increased in the last few years. Indeed, India has the highest number of malnourished people in the whole world. This is the reason why the CPI(M) has been demanding a reversal of food policies from the targetted system to a universal system of PDS as recommended by the official committee.