Addressing a press conference here, Assam Industries and Commerce Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said, "The NDA government at the Centre has recently issued a notification informing that FCI will not be providing foodgrains, mainly rice and atta, for our lakhs of tea garden workers and their families."
    
He said the foodgrains are provided to over 19 lakh families of tea garden workers across the state by the garden owners after being procured from the FCI.
     
"The Assam government is very concerned about this move. This practice has been there since pre-independence time. Initially, it was done under Essential Supplies (Temporary Powers) Act 1946 and later under Essential Commodities Act 1955. The workers are provided rice and atta at 55 paise per kg," Bordoloi said.
     
The FCI supplies 12,590 tonnes of foodgrains to the tea garden owners for further distribution to the workers at present, he said.
    
"The policies of the NDA government is discriminatory towards northeast and Assam in particular. The Centre has not even allowed us to start the National Food Security Act yet under the pretext of a clause, which was never a pre-condition to launch the scheme," Bordoloi alleged.
     
The Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs made completion of "End to end computerisation-component-1" as a necessary precondition for approval to launch the scheme in Assam.

"Had the Food Security Act been implemented, the tea garden workers would have been included in that. But in the absence of both the schemes, the tea garden workers are going to have difficulties in having subsidised foodgrains," Bordoloi said, adding the state government has already lodged its protest to the Centre.

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