ROTTING FOODGRAINS...NOT EXCUSABLE...

Oct 18 : Ticking off the Centre for the rotting of huge quantities of foodgrains when people are dying of hunger, the Supreme Court today asked what action has been taken against officials responsible for it. Terming the matter as "extremely serious", the apex asked the Centre to ensure no further wastage and gear up to meet the storage required for the ensuing kharif crops. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Mohan Parasaran drew flak for his argument that only 7000 tonnes of grains had got rotten in Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns and that 67,539 tonnes were wasted in the godowns owned by States of Haryana and Punjab. "Even if it is 7,000 tonnes how can it happen? Then there is the wastage in two States. It is an extremely serious matter. You compare the wastage world over. The damage done in two States is very high. What action you have taken against the officials? "You are admitting 7000 tonnes have been damaged. People are dying of hunger. You are not providing them grain. This litigation has been going on for the past 10 years. Some evaluation should have been done by you by this time to prevent wastage and ensure proper distribution," a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma told the ASG. The apex court made the observation while dealing with the public interest litigation moved by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties's(PUCL) complaining about large scale corruption the country's public distribution system (PDS) and rotting of food grains in government godowns. The Bench had earlier ordered the Government to distribute food grains free of cost to the hungry poor, but the Centre had not given any commitment on the issue though Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Paward had orally assured that Government would implement the direction. However, subsequently the Prime Minister joined the issue saying courts should not interfere in policy matters. 

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