SRINAGAR: The J&K high court has closed a Public Interest Litigation seeking directions to the government to provide food grains as per the 2011 census.
The direction to close the PIL was passed by a division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey after statements by senior additional advocate general NA Beigh and Assistant Solicitor General SA Makroo.
While Beigh stated that the state government has already implemented the provisions of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013, Makroo submitted that the government of India has no issues in making the supplies of food grains—rice and wheat—to J&K as per the census of 2011.
“Having regard to the statements tendered by the counsel for the respondents (Beigh and Makroo), the issue involved in the PIL is settled and (is) accordingly closed,” the court said.
Decreased allocation of food grains to the state was subject matter of the PIL filed in 2014 by one Tariq Ali Najar of Pulwama through advocate SA Rathore.
Najar had highlighted that the food grains in the state were distributed on the basis of the census 2001 when the number of families were 18.2 lakhs as against 22.73 lakh as per the 2011 census. He said the population of the state has increased to 125.489 lakh (2011 census) from 99.45 lakh in 2001.
The state, he said, used to have 63067 metric tons per month as per the 2001 census even the contemporary requirement was 79560 metric tons. In other words, he said, 4.71 lakh families were without any provision of food grains required to be distributed by the CA&PD.
To settle the issue, the high court in July last year made the government of India a party to the PIL so that effective direction could be issued to it for release of additional food grains to meet the requirement.
Accordingly, Sandeept Saxena, undersecretary to the GOI, department of Food and Public distribution Krishi Bhawan New Delhi, submitted a report, stating that unless the NFSA was implemented, the state will not get food grains as per the 2011 census.
Najar had raised another important issue regarding the NFSA it covers only 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
“The eligible persons will be entitled to receive 5 kg of food grains per person per month at a subsidised price of Rs 3, 2, 1 per kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains but the act is silent regarding the unsubsidised food grains,” he had said.
The announcement to implement the NFSA was made by PDP-BJP government and it was implemented by the government administration which took the reins of power following the death of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on January 7. Ever since the law came into force, there have been massive protests by people and they demand its immediate roll back.