New Delhi, Oct 7 (UNI) Various state governments have denied the allegations made before the Supreme Court that foodgrains worth over Rs 31,000 crores, released by the Centre at highly subsidised rates for distribution through Public Distribution System (PDS) in the country, have been siphoned off from the PDS to the open market.
The allegations were made by the Uttar Pradesh Roller Flour Mill Association (UPRFMA) and others during the hearing of the writ petition filed by them.
According to the petitioner, the wheat released by the Centre for supply to those living below poverty line (BPL) was being diverted to rolling flour mills of different states in the open market and this is how a massive fraud is being perpetrated on the government as well as on the weaker section of society.
A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam, in their judgement dated October 5, has directed the state governments to submit a quarterly data report to the Centre who in turn shall ensure that all possible steps are being taken by the states to fulfill the intended objective.
The Court has also directed the associations concerned, gram panchayats and local bodies to assess the need for wheat for the intended beneficiaries and inform the same to the state governments.
These bodies shall also indicate the quantum of wheat which is to be converted to 'atta' (flour) according to the preference of the beneficiaries.
The apex court also directed the state governments that 'atta', so converted, shall be supplied to fair price shops (FPS) so that the beneficiaries can get them from these FPS at rates fixed by the governments concerned.
The Court also directed the state governments to ensure that the local bodies projected the actual requirement of the beneficiaries and the subsidised foodgrains are finally supplied to the consumers living below poverty line. Any possibility of diversion of the subsidised foodgrains to open market shall be put down through every possible effort the states are required to make.