Omar Abdullah non-committal on fresh deadline for food law in Jammu

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Omar non committal on Food Security Act
New Delhi, Jul 9: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was non-committal on Wednesday on giving any deadline for implementing the Food Security Act as the new law will not include the entire poor people in the state who are at present covered under the current PDS mechanism.

Since Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few states, where universal public distribution system (PDS) has been in force since 2002 covering every poor family in the state, it is facing a shortfall of 5,953 tonnes of foodgrains in a month.

In his meeting with Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Omar sought higher foodgrain allocation for the state to meet the demand of people. The Chief Minister also discussed difficulties being faced by the state in implementing the new Food Law.

While every poor family in the state is covered under the universal PDS at present, the new Food Security Act will exclude some of them and quantity of ration will also come down to 25 kg per family from 35 kg at present.

Omar sought higher foodgrain allocation for the state

All states were to implement the Food Law that gives legal right over subsidised foodgrain to poor people by July 4. Later, all states were given three more months to implement the law.

Asked when the state plans to implement the new food law, Omar said: "We are not committing anything right now. As of now, implementation of the food security law actually puts us at a disadvantage in terms of amount of ration that I can supply to people.

At the moment, we are not committing for any date for the roll-out of the Food Security Law." He further said that these issues were flagged before the Food Minister. He also expressed the hope that the Centre will take a "sympathetic view" of this issue.

The Chief Minister said Jammu and Kashmir faces a deficit in foodgrain production. Buffer stock of essential food items, fuel, petroleum and kerosene are required considering severe winter and inaccessibility of areas.

Paswan said the Centre recently had announced release of additional 50 lakh tonnes of rice through PDS to provide relief to poor from the rising prices. "Out of this, the state will get 43,000 tonnes of rice," he said after the meeting.


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