Need to strengthen PDS system : Anand

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Shimla, May 3 (UNI) Expressing concern over the non availability of food rations in shops being under the public distribution system (PDS) in Himachal Pradesh, Union Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma today said it was a wrong time to ''dispense with the scheme''.

Talking to mediapersons here, he said cheap rations being made available during the previous government's tenure have been done away with by the present government at a wrong time.

Mr Sharma said in view of food scarcity across the globe and following food riots in over 30 countries, the need was to strengthen the PDS system and ensure its smooth functioning than dismantling it.

''This is not a time to score brownie points over each other and the state governments must act strictly to prevent hoarding and black markeeting of rations at their level, he said.

He said several tonnes of food items were recorded in a raid within three days of the Delhi Government acting against the hoarders and black marketers following the Centre's direction to act against them.

He expressed concern and anguish over the Himachal Government's decision to extend support to the nation-wide bandh call by the BJP, saying that the energy spent on making it a success should have been used to initiate steps to check prices of essential food items.

The Union Minister expressed concern over the rising prices of essential commodities, especially food items, and said while the world was facing food crises, the country had sufficient food stocks and no state could complain of not being provided enough food stocks.

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