Centre discriminating in foodgrain procurement: CM
Patna: Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Thursday accused the Centre of discriminating against Bihar with Food Corporation of India (FCI) going back on its promise of procuring foodgrain speedily despite repeated requests.
Kumar, who intervened while Food Minister Shyam Rajak was replying to a question of Leader of Opposition in the assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui, said FCI had promised the government that it would speedily procure grains from farmers.
"During Adhikar yatra (last year) I had interacted with FCI officials for procurement of grains and they had assured me that the process would be carried out speedily but FCI is not delivering on its promise...The state government`s huge cash is held up due to this," he said.
The process of purchase of grain has been hit hard in the state due to unavailability of quality controller and frequent strikes in FCI, Kumar said, adding that he has drawn attention of the Centre on the matter.
The Opposition is seeking to score political points on this issue, he said and appealed to them to fight unitedly against the "discrimination".
"Had it been Punjab or Uttar Pradesh, all the legislators would have been on their feet to unitedly fight such discrimination against the interest of farmers," he said.
On slow procurement of wheat in the state, he said it was because farmers were getting good rates in the open market than the minimum support price.
Earlier, the state food minister rubbished the opposition leader`s claim that paddy was rotting in open space at Sitamarhi and other places.
Rajak said of the targeted 30 lakh tonne of paddy in 2011-12 kharif season, 22.87 lakh tonne has already been acquired.
A target of 15 lakh tonnes of wheat in rabi season 2012-13 had been set and so far 5.16 lakh had been acquired, he said.
Several members including some from ruling coalition complained that transportation of grains have been delayed for over five months in PDS shops to which the minister said it was due to delay in supply of allocation by the Centre.
Rajak said due to huge gap in the assessment in the number of beneficiaries by the Centre and the state, the PDS cardholders are being given 25 kg of grains, 10 kg short of provided by the Centre.
While the Centre provides foodgrains for only 65 lakh cardholders, the list of beneficiaries as per the survey of the state government on the lines of recommendations of Tendulkar and Saxena committees was over 1.4 crore, he said adding the left out beneficiaries are given subsidised grains from the state`s limited resources.
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