• Short Summary

    Calcutta housewives and Communists gathered in force on Wednesday (23 August) to demonstrate against the cut in their rice ration and rising food prices.

  • Description

    Calcutta housewives and Communists gathered in force on Wednesday (23 August) to demonstrate against the cut in their rice ration and rising food prices.

    The protesters shouted slogans and stopped traffic outside the Food Ration Office. Many carried placards.

    Eight people are reported to have died from starvation in the Malda district, north of Calcutta, and the high food prices mean even these earning regular wages go hungry.

    Last year's disastrous drought has caused the national shortage. In West Bengal, the government has sent a communique to New Delhi saying the rationing system may collapse because rice stocks have sunk so low.

    Many people from the neighbouring states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have trekked to Calcutta because a drought is still in progress there. They had heard rumours of better work opportunities in the Calcutta area. The new refugees have swollen the city's population, and well over a hundred new ration cards are issued each day.

    West Bengal has been receiving only half of its monthly rice quota of 18,000 tons because a national rice procurement drive has had little success.

    Most people fall back on wheat when rice is scarce but it too is scarce as most stocks have to be imported. India's bill for imported food last year was 5,600 million Rupees (approx, GBP 280 million sterling).

    The two Communist opposition parties have been particularly critical of the Government over the shortage. They say the most powerful food hoarders are among the ruling Congress Party, and a Congress Party report recently revealed that five Central Government Ministers in Uttar Pradesh had not replied to a party questionnaire about their food land stocks.

    The Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, has since promised drastic action against food grain hoarders and black marketeers. Hundreds of people have been arrested for food smuggling in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh alone.

    SYNOPSIS: Protestors gathered in force in Calcutta on Wednesday for a demonstration, organised by the Communist Party, against a cut in the rice ration and the steeply rising prices of all food. Eight people are reported to have died from starvation in the Malda district, north of Calcutta, and the high food prices mean even those earning regular wages go hungry. Last year's disastrous drought has caused the national shortage.

    In West Bengal, the government has sent a communique to New Delhi saying the rationing system may well collapse because rice stocks have sunk as low.

    Caloutta housewives also held a march. New refugees have swollen the city's population and the authorities have had to issue over a hundred new ration cards every day. The refugees are from the neighbouring Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states, which are still drought-stricken. Many people had heard rumours of better work opportunities in Calcutta.

    A ruling Congress Part report recently revealed that five Central Government Ministers in Uttar Pradesh had not replied to a party questionnaire about their food land stocks and the two Communist opposition parties have criticised the Government. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has since promised drastic action against food headers and black marketeers, and hundreds of people have been arrested for food smuggling.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA973CXSQWPG4PBTEJ8U6DV4HP3
    Media URN:
    VLVA973CXSQWPG4PBTEJ8U6DV4HP3
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    23/08/1973
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:01:38:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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