GUWAHATI, Dec 19 - Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that the National Food Security Act would be implemented in the State from December 24 onwards, covering a population of 2.4 crore. This will cover 84 per cent and 60 per cent of the rural and urban population respectively.
�There had been some delay, but the State Government will implement the National Food Security Act from December 24. It will cover a populace of 2.4 crore, including both BPL and APL families. We believe that the programme will go a long way in providing succour to the people from price rise,� Gogoi said at a press conference.
The Chief Minister said that he was not getting the desired support from the present BJP-led NDA Central Government in implementing the project, which was launched under the regime of the Congress-led UPA in 2013. The price of rice under the Food Security Act will be Rs 3 per kg at the maximum.
Criticising the Centre for changing the funding pattern and doing away with the Special Category State status to Assam, Gogoi said that the developments impacted the State adversely.
�Let alone implementing any new scheme, maintaining the existing programmes has become difficult as the Centre was choking the flow of funds to the State. But we are fighting and the dharna at Parliament was an expression of our protest,� he added.
Citing examples, Gogoi said that the Backward Area Grant Fund that comprised hundred per cent Central funding had been withdrawn. Besides, the restriction of fund flow has impacted the implementation of projects such as the National Health Mission. The North East Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIIP), too, has been totally diluted as all the incentives for the backward States have been taken off, he added.
�From its acts, the Modi Government has made it clear that it is an anti-poor Government. I have written as many as 18 letters to the Centre over the issue of fund curtailment, but to no avail. Even flood-related funds have been withheld. The Central team found time to inspect the flood damage in Assam only this month,� Gogoi said.
On the controversy over the alleged bid by the BJP-RSS to prevent Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi�s visit to the Barpeta Sattra, the Chief Minister termed the controversy as uncalled-for, saying that he did not want any politics on the issue.
�Some elements were there who did not want Rahul Gandhi to visit the Sattra. Prior to Rahul Gandhi�s visit, I had a telephonic conversation with the Burha Sattradhikar who said that he had no problem with Gandhi�s visit, but that some other persons might not want him to be there,� he said, adding that Pradyut Bardoloi was also prevented from entering the Sattra ahead of Gandhi�s scheduled visit.
On the allegation by State BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal that there had been large-scale encroachment on Sattra land by Bangladeshi nationals, Gogoi said that according to Sonowal, all the Muslims in Assam were Bangladeshis.