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Ration rage continues in Bengal districts
October 16, 2007 14:38 IST
Protests against ration shop owners and ration dealers continued in West Bengal on Tuesday, with several ration shops being ransacked and foodgrains being looted across the state.
A mob set ablaze the house of a ration dealer who allegedly sold ration items in the open market instead of distributing it to ration card holders at Deganga in north 24 Pargana district on Monday. When a police contingent arrived in the area, agitated locals hurled stones at policemen, injuring five of them.
The injured were rushed to Barasat hospital, said Additional Superintendent of Police Sugoto Sen. Later, Rapid Action Force personnel were called in the area to prevent any untoward incident, the ASP said.
In a separate incident on Monday at Haroa in the same district, a BDO's office was attacked when he was attending a meeting with ration dealers.
In South 24 Parganas, residents of Jaynalerkhet village near Kultali ransacked the house of a ration dealer and locked up the ration shop on Monday. Angry locals looted 17 sacks of rice from a ration dealer's house at Bapujinagar in Kakdwip area late on Monday night. Four people were arrested in connection with the incident.
Over 400 sacks of rice have been taken away in a looting spree from five ration shops in the district in the last three days, police said. Police pickets have been set up at Kultali and Kakdwip to monitor the situation.
Meanwhile, two ration dealers at Dayapur and Rangabelia villages in Gosaba area of South 24 Parganas district signed an undertaking in the presence of villagers on Tuesday, promising to pay Rs 1000 to each ration card holder and give them rice free of cost for the next six months. The villagers had accused the two ration dealers of depriving them of ration supply for several months.
Angry locals were demonstrating in front of ration dealers' house at various places in Gosaba, the police said.
In Malda, district food controller Neelkamal Saha said two committees have been set up at the district and sub-divisional level to monitor the functioning of the 761 ration shops in 15 blocks. Sixteen ration dealers have been suspended in Malda district till now and departmental proceedings initiated against 21 dealers, he said.
The violence against corrupt ration dealers began in Bankura district on September 16 and spread quickly to Burdwan, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Hooghly, Nadia, Malda and North and South 24 Parganas.
Five people have lost their lives in the violence, including two in police firing.