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Give food free or at nominal price than rot; Govt told

Posted on Dec 05, 09:03PM | UNI

A parliamentary committee has asked the government to better distribute the excess food grains lying in its godowns to the BPL (below poverty line) families 'at nominal price or even free of cost' instead of wasting and rotting them.

The panel headed by BJP's Shanta Kumar also suggested the issue of food coupons in addition to the public distribution system (PDS).

In a report tabled in Parliament today, the committee expressed its 'extreme anguish' that wheat and rice of more than three years -- 2009, 2010 and 2011 -- were still lying in the godowns and became unfit for consumption. In a country like India, where a vast majority of people still struggle to make both ends meet, such a colossal waste of precious food grains must be viewed 'very seriously,' it said.

"The government must also fix responsibility on those entrusted with storage of food grain and ensure that the cost of wasted grain is recovered from those responsible for the loss," says the committee, which also included eight ruling Congress members.

It suggested food grains meant for six months' consumption be released in one go under PDS to reduce the FCI's storage problem.

In its action taken report, the government, however, affirmed that more than 77 per cent of the wheat stock in the central pool belongs to the current crop year and 55.24 per cent of the total stock of rice is about one year old.

In a detailed response, the government, however, admitted that 3.03 lakh tonnes of wheat of 2008-09 and 9.81 lakh tonnes of 2009-10 and 39.08 lakh tonnes of 2010-11 together amounted to 22.43 per cent of the total stock.