Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 3:
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan seeking release of food grain allocations under NFSA 2013.
Patnaik, in his letters, pointed out that based on consumer preference the state government had requested the Central government to release 3.20 lakh MT rice and 52.9 thousand MT wheat for allotment months November 2015-January 2016.
However, the Centre had released 2.92 lakh MT rice and 78.4 thousand MT wheat leading to a shortfall of 27.9 thousand MT rice and a surplus of 25.5 thousand MT wheat.
“Odisha is a rice consuming state and most people prefer rice as their main staple diet. Our request to Government of India was based on ratio of 85.82:14.18 derived from the options of beneficiaries indicated in their NFSA applications. Failure to supply food grain as per the choice of the NFSA beneficiaries will be against the spirit of the Act,” wrote Naveen in his letter to Modi seeking his intervention in the matter.
In his letter to Paswan, Naveen informed that the state government has successfully implemented National Food Security Act, 2013 in all 30 districts of the state by December 2015. So far, 80.05 lakh families (covering 298.5 lakh individuals) have been enrolled as Priority Households (PHH) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households under NFSA.
“The distribution of food grain has been done in 85.82:14.18 ratio for last 3 months (November, December 2015 and January 2016). However, Government of India has made allocation of more wheat (i.e. in 78.83:21.17 ratio of rice and wheat) on the ground that Odisha was consuming more wheat in the pre NFSA days. As a result, the state has distributed 27,904 MT of rice in excess of Government of India allocation where as it has not utilized 25,559 MT of wheat allocation,” his letter to Paswan added.
Patnaik further explained that the actual ratio of rice and wheat under TPDS regime was 84.74 : 15.26 instead of 78.83 : 21.17 and requested that 85.82: 14.18 may be considered for release of food grains down the line. He also requested the Centre to release the resulted shortfall of 27,904 MT rice to regularize the distribution made by the state government to the eligible beneficiaries under NFSA and withdraw the surplus allocation of 25,559 MT wheat.