Puducherry Lt governor Kiran Bedi said that the territorial government's free rice scheme would be operated in rural areas only after local MLAs and commune panchayat commissioners certify that the hamlets are open defecation and garbage free by May 31. Bedi stated this in a WhatsApp message to media persons after her weekend visits to some villages, where she expressed dissatisfaction over the 'slow pace' of implementation of the rural sanitation programme. She also posted pictures which shows the current situation of different areas.
"Distribution of free rice to the villagers should be conditional to the certification of the village being open defecation free and free of strewn garbage and plastics," she said. She gave a May 31 deadline to the authorities to ensure the hamlets are made open defecation free and garbage free. She also said that for the last two years, no local representatives or officials of the departments concerned had made a determined bid to make rural Puducherry clean within a time frame.
Under the free rice scheme, families coming under below poverty line are entitled to get 20 kg rice every month while those with yellow cards in the Above Poverty line category are entitled 10 kg rice.