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UP govt concerned over non-availability of wheat under PDS

By Staff
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Lucknow, May 2 (UNI) In wake of non-availability of wheat for Public Distribution System (PDS) this month, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav is writing a strong letter to the Centre to ensure availability of grain through the centrally-sponsored scheme.

In the scheme, designed mainly for the benefit of persons living below poverty line (BPL), the central allocation of foodgrains reaches the states through Food Corporation of India (FCI) for distribution by PDS network.

Such situation has arisen after UP failed to get its allocation of wheat for PDS this month, causing hardship to lakhs of poor families with about 45 lakh of them being from Antodaya families, official sources told UNI here.

About 76,000 MT of wheat is allocated to UP for BPL families to be sold at the rate of Rs 4.65 per kg, while 47,000 MT of wheat is for Antodaya families to be made available to them at the rate of Rs two per kg.

A failure in this regard would defeat the very purpose of PDS as the market rate of wheat is very high these days.

In UP, there are over a crore ration cardholders, which get benefit of PDS, out of which 45 per cent are Antodya cardholders.

Expressing concern over the situation entailing suffering to the BPL and Antodaya families, the UP government has urged the Centre to fulfil its obligation to allocate the wheat for PDS this month.

The UP government is in no mood to buy the argument of the Centre that poor procurement of wheat in UP has caused the situation, contending the market rates of wheat are much higher than the Minimum Support Price (MSP) fixed by the government and the interest of farmers cannot be ignored.

Sources said the poor procurement by UP, Punjab and Haryana governments has depleted the buffer stock of the Centre to an extent that the latter had to import wheat.

Against the MSP of Rs 700 per MT, the rate in the open market is in the region of Rs 850 per MT prompting farmers to sell their produce in the open market rather than coming to government agencies.

In its earlier letter to Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, the UP CM had asked the Centre to import wheat to strgthen the buffer stock to ensure availability for the PDS.

Meanwhile, the Centre has already placed orders for wheat import and the situation is likley to be improved by next month.

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