Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 11:
While the opposition parties BJP and Congress have been alleging that the Odisha government had violated the provisions of National Food Security Act (NFSA) by not constituting Food Commission and Vigilance Committees at the district level before its implementation in the state, the Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare secretary today clarified that the Information Commissioner was notified as chairperson Food Commission and Project Director (PD) District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in all districts were notified as District Grievance Redressal Officers (DGRO) in October last year before the implementation of NFSA in the state.
“The NFSA-2013 clearly says that it’s essential to constitute Food Commission before its implementation. Similarly, it’s essential to appoint DGROs at district level. The Act further says those state governments which do not constitute Food Commission, can vest the responsibility with Human Rights Commission, Women’s Commission or Information Commission. On that basis the state government has vested the responsibility of Food Commissioner with the Information Commissioner. It was only after the state government vested the Food Commissioner and PD DRDA in districts with the responsibility of grievance redressal that the Central government gave permission for implementation of NFSA. That apart has also made provisions for food grains,” informed Madhusudan Padhi, secretary Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare.
The Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare secretary said as per the NFSA the Food Commission will have a chairperson and five members and one of the members will be the secretary. There are certain rules and regulations for that and rules are being framed for constituting a Food Commission in the state, he added.
“These rules have been sent to the Law department for approval. Following the department’s approval it will be sent to the Cabinet for approval. Only after that notification for constitution of a Food Commission will be issued. In accordance with the rules, the commission’s chairperson and members will be selected. It will take some time for that reason the Information Commissioner has been vested with the charge of the chairperson of the Food Commission in accordance with the rules of the NFSA,” Padhi said.
Padhi said: “The Food Commission and DGROs appointed at the district level are yet to start hearings on grievances. They are yet to receive complaints. The NFSA is yet to reach that stage in the state. Currently, the process of exclusion of ineligible beneficiaries is on. The process is underway at the block and panchayat level. Very soon Food Commissioner and GROs appointed at the district level will conduct hearings on grievances.”
The process of returning ration cards by ineligible beneficiaries is underway in different districts and they have been requested to return it by January 15 otherwise action will be initiated against them, he stated.