Zulfikar seeks additional 4.30 lakhs MTs of ration

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Raising J&K’s food issues with the Central Government, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Public Distribution Department and Legal Metrology Department, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali has urged the Government of India to release 4.30 lakhs MTs additional ration to the State on APL rates for implementation of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES). The scheme is to be implemented in the State from July 2016.
He flagged the issue at the National Consultation Meeting of Food Ministers of all the States and Union Territories here which was chaired by Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs, Ram Vilas Paswan with Union Minister of Agriculture, Radha Mohan as special guest. The meeting was attended by Food Ministers of various States and Union Territories besides Administrative Secretaries of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Departments and Controllers of Legal Metrology Department.
Addressing the meeting, he said the state government has to procure 11.37 lakhs MTs of food-grains for which Rs 1367 crores are required annually. He said that Rs 1030 crores will be recouped on account of sale proceeds thereby creating a net deficit of Rs 337 crores annually. He demanded additional 4.30 lakhs MTs ration on APL rates to implement MMSFES and also demanded Union Minister to issue necessary instructions to Food Corporation of India to ensure availability of additional food-grains to J&K from July 1, 2016.
He further added that his Department has completed cent percent digitization. He however demanded that funds be released for e-PDS on 75:25 basis which is already being given to North Eastern states and is also agreed by Union Minister in last Consultation meeting. He said among the agreed Rs 20.37 crores, the state has received only Rs 6.11 crores and demanded that pending amount may be released at the earliest.
Projecting the demand for construction of silos in J&K, the Minister said that State Level Consultative Committee, J&K has recommended construction of hi-tech godowns in Jammu and Kashmir and Food Corporation of India was asked to formulate proposal for construction of two silos but the process has not been started yet. He demanded intervention of Union Minister in the matter.
Meanwhile, he also raised the issues of Legal Metrology by terming it a most important Department. He projected release of already agreed Rs 8.70 crores for strengthening infrastructure of Legal Metrology, establishing of standard laboratories and research and development Labs. He added that no funds have been released in this regard. He also sought funds for Capacity building programmes.
He requested Union Minister that direction may be passed to FCI for establishing Food Testing laboratories in J&K.
The Minister said in order to control prices, his Department is going to maintain stock limits besides are planning to make Price Policy. He also said that they have tightened noose on black marketing by taking stern action against the erring traders and officials. He said that price control mechanism is being strengthened in the state.
Meanwhile, the Minister has said the Government is going to constitute State Food Commission (SFC) soon besides installing Point of Sale Machines (PoS) on pilot basis in few areas which will be extended to whole state in future.

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