IMPHAL, February 14: `State officials say okay and the public says not okay,`™ Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said today while referring to the Public Distribution System in the State.
Addressing media persons today at Hotel Imphal on the first day of his two-day visit to the State, the Union Minister said the government was aware of the malpractices present in the PDS system in the State. He was replying to media queries regarding complaints of malpractices in the distribution system.
Earlier the Union Minister had reviewed the Targeted Public Distribution System in the State with senior officials of the State government, railways and the Food Corporation of India.
Joint Secretary CAF & PD Deepak Kumar who was accompanying the Union Minister had told media persons during the press meet that the Minister had reviewed the status of availability of food grains for the implementation of the National Food Security Act, NFSA in the State.
He said the NFSA which is already implemented in the country since 2013 will be implemented by July this year in the State.
During the review meeting earlier in the day, the Union Minister has been informed by the State officials that there is sufficient stock for the Targeted Public Distribution System beneficiaries for about 70-90 days, he said.
He said the officials had also been instructed by the Minister that all efforts should be taken to ensure adequate supply of food grains.
Elaborating on the efforts made to implement the NFSA in the State, he said identifying of all targeted beneficiaries for the Act will soon be completed and the data will be uploaded on a website for transparency.
The website, he said will have all information on food grain stocks, location of godowns and fair price shops, current price rates and other information related to the NFSA.
He added that a dedicated call centre will also be open to received public queries.
The Union Minister supplemented by stating that a vigilance committee will also be set up to look into the grievances of all beneficiaries and it will come under the State government.
The supply of the food grains will not be allowed to be affected because of the Lumding-Silchar broad-gauge conversion, he assured adding that the railway officials have assured that the broad-gauge section will be completed by March this year.
The Minister said he has also instructed the FCI originals to look into the grievance of the truck drivers of the State regarding transportation of goods from Jiribam to Imphal.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the demand for the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the Union Minister said he will apprise the Prime Minister of the demand once he returns to the National capital.
He said he also shares the public sentiment including that of Irom Chanu Sharmila.
The Union Minister also added that discrimination against any citizen of the country anywhere is lamentable and that the Centre considers the discrimination of the people of the North East to be of a serious nature.
The Union Minister also announced that during his visit he will lay foundation stones for construction of FCI godowns at Bishnupur and Imphal East having capacity of 5000 MT and 10000MT respectively.
The press meet was accompanied chairman and managing director, FCI C Viswanath; joint secretary CAF & PD Deepak Kumar and Langthabal MLA Karam Shyam.