Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 6:
The Essential Commodities Act and Prevention Of Black marketing Act will be amended very soon to give more teeth to these laws to curb black marketing and hoarding of essential commodities and to ensure their free movement within the country, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said at a press conference in the Odisha capital here today.
“We are very soon going to bring amendments to the Essential Commodities Act and Prevention of Black marketing Act. Offences under these Acts, which are currently bailable, will be made non-bailable after the amendment. The term of imprisonment which is pegged at six months now will be increased to one year,” said Paswan.
The Union minister said the storage capacity for foodgrains in Odisha would be increased to 40,000 tons by the end of August 2015. He said the issue over availability of land for construction of warehouses had been sorted out.
Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma, who was present at the press briefing, informed the Union minister that the number of students from ST and SC communities residing in boarding schools had increased to 4.67 lakh and demanded additional provision of subsidized ration for them.
Paswan said at present the Centre was providing subsidised ration to 65,000 ST and SC students residing in hostels. He said he wll consider the demand for providingadditonal subsidized rations for those currentlyleft out.
During the course of the press briefing, Dasburma drew the attention of the Union minister to the curbs imposed by West Bengal government on the free movement of potatoes to the state despite the fact that it had been classified as an essential commodity.
Paswan, in his reply, said that the matter had been sorted out and amendments to the Acts will solve the problem.
Surprisingly, Sanjay Dasburma left the press briefing which was being held at a city hotel midway begging excuse from the Central minister. It was not clear whether the minister left the press meet because of a previous engagement of his or to to avoid unpleasant questions from the media.