Food security bill will benefit 2.25 crore in Assam: Gogoi

    By IANS,

    Guwahati : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Tuesday welcomed the central government’s recent move to pass the food security bill and said it proved the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s commitment to alienate poverty.

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    “A total of 2.25 crore people and 40 lakh families will be benefited in Assam under the food security bill,” Gogoi said, adding that the state government has already formed a group of ministers (GoM) to expedite implementation of the measure.

    Gogoi said that like in other parts in the country, 75 percent of the people in villages and 50 percent of those living in urban areas in Assam will benefit.

    Under this bill, eligible households in the country will be entitled to food grain at a subsidised price – Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat, and Re.1 per kg for coarse grain.

    “We have been asked to prepare the list of beneficiaries by August 1 this year. After the preparation of the list, all the claims and objections, if any, will be settled before November. We hope to launch the scheme from November 19 this year,” Gogoi said.

    The chief minister added that all the departments concerned have been asked to cooperate in implementing the bill at the earliest.

    Gogoi also addressed the issue of the anti-tobacco bill, passed by the state assembly recently, and hoped it would be implemented in Assam to check the increasing number of cancer patients.

    He announced that the government was taking steps to develop the infrastructure for cancer cure at major government hospitals in Jorhat and Dibrugarh and at the Silchar Medical College and Hospital.

    “Now, only the B. Borooah Cancer Institute in Guwahati has the facility for cancer treatment. We may introduce public-private partnership model to develop infrastructure at Silchar, Dibrugarh and Jorhat hospitals,” he said.

    “I know it is not possible to do things overnight but we will try to implement the bill in the state and hope that gradually things will change. We will also have to lay focus on creating awareness so that people come to know about the ill-effects of tobacco products,” the chief minister said.

    A study conducted by the B. Barooah Cancer Institute has revealed that Assam with 4,443 cancer cases is the worst-affected state in the northeast.

    In 2011-12, maximum cancer cases were reported from Kamrup (986), Nagaon (483) and Dhubri (239) districts.

    The study also shows that Meghalaya has 101 cases, Nagaland 84 cases, Arunachal 65, Mizoram 59, Manipur 38 and Tripura 14.