Food grains distribution: Govt to prepare database of depots; supply hike process in ‘final stages’

SRINAGAR: The government Thursday asked the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) department to prepare a database of depots and their associated consumers before the end of this month.
According to an official handout issued here, the Minister for CAPD, Zulfkar Ali, directed all district heads of the department to make a “zone-wise directory of the sale depots, indicating details of dealers, location of depots, and number of consumers”.
They have to submit the directories before August 30, it said.
“The move is to ensure transparency and strengthen the mechanism for redressing grievances,” it said.
In order to “rationalise” the allocation of food grains, the minister sought list of existing sale centers, for “the government is in the final phase of arranging ration quota for the consumers”, it said.
The minister, said the handout, gave the directions in a meeting called to review the status of the process for upgrading list based on 2011 census.
The state has been supplying rations as per the 2001 census, despite an increase in number of families from 18.2 lakh in 2001 to 22.3 lakh in 2011.
The reason is the limited supply of food grains coming from New Delhi-owned Food Corporation of India, which is the state’s only external source of food grains. The government of India has made clear that unless the states, including J&K, implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA), their quota of food grains will not be enhanced.
Earlier this year, the state government announced to provide rations as per 2011 census from July, with an assurance to manage the shortfall itself. The deadline was later changed to August. According to the handout, the minister asked the Director CAPD, Kashmir, to submit the physical verification report of beneficiaries at the earliest.
“Government has taken various reformative measures to improve efficiency of the current public distribution system and to address various challenges such as leakages, diversion of food grains, and elimination of fake or bogus ration cards. It is putting in place a leak proof monitoring system,” he said.
Emphasising on the need to open new sale depots to ensure “doorstep delivery” of food grains, Zulfkar directed the concerned authorities to conduct a survey for opening of new sale depots with a minimum of 250 and maximum 499 households and submit a proposal before August 30.