J&K Awaits 16,500-tonne Foodgrains

J&K Awaits 16,500-tonne Foodgrains

5 July 2013
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Sumit Hakhoo

Jammu: With the Congress-led UPA government bringing an ordinance for supplying ration to the needy states, Jammu and Kashmir is looking for an additional 16,500 metric tonne (MT) of foodgrains held up by the Centre due to the delay in the passage of the National Food Security Bill. The state is yet to get its quota from the Centre under the Central Issue Prices to cover the entire population enumerated in the 2011 census as the Food Bill is yet to get the approval of Parliament. At present, the state government is providing ration to 19.71 lakh families as per 2001 Census. However, the total population of the ration card holders in the state as per 2011 census is 1.25 crore with 22.73 lakh families. There is a shortage of ration for approximately 3.2 lakh families. The state is getting only 63,067 MT ration from the Government of India against the total requirement of 79,567 MT per month. for provision of 35 kg to each family. There is a shortage of 16,500 MT every month. Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan said, “The state is facing a big challenge of feeding its population. We are hoping that the Central government will release the additional quota with the approval of the Food Security Ordinance. Presently, we are diverting foodgrains from various categories to fill the gap.” Sources said despite assurances by the Union Food Ministry that additional quota will be released from this fiscal, the commitment has not been fulfilled, depriving thousands of people from getting ration through the public distribution system (PDS). Thousands of families living in Kishtwar, Bhaderwah, Warwan, Poonch, Rajouri and Doda in the Jammu region and Kupwara, Handwara, Anantnag in the Kashmir valley are facing shortage of ration on a routine basis. Ramzan said till the additional food is not released by the Union ministry, people would continue to face problems in getting new ration cards also. According to official sources, most of the shortage is faced by families falling in the category of above poverty line (APL), which comprised a major chunk of the population in the state. However, below poverty line (BPL) families are protected as they get ration under a special scheme. DEMAND-SUPPLY GAP The state is getting only 63,067 tonne ration from the Centre against the total requirement of 79,567 tonne per month. Each beneficiary family is entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains