New Delhi: In the wake of fresh reports of rotting foodgrains and government estimates that the country will record a bumper crop production this year, the Supreme Court has asked the Central government to ensure no death is recorded due to hunger.
Referring to the government estimates, the apex court said since bumper crop production is expected this year, there should be no death due to lack of food in the country.
A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma further directed the government to release additional 50 lakh tonnes of food grains for 150 backward regions. The allocation would be done under supervision of Justice DP Wadhwa Committee appointed by the apex court.
The bench said the committee would identify the
vulnerable sections in consultation with the Centre and would
recommend allocation of foodgrains to the targeted
The court also directed the chief secretaries of all
states receiving the additional foodgrains to first exhaust
their unutilised stock of foodgrains allocated to them and
then distribute the additional one.
Earlier on May 10, the bench had expressed concern
over the high malnourishment deaths in the country. The Centre
had told the bench that 50 lakh additional tonnes of PDS
foodgrains would be distributed among below poverty level
families by next two weeks.
The bench had also repeated its earlier stance that if
godowns were overflowing or foodgrains are being destroyed on
account of other reasons there was no reason why government
should not distribute them at subsidised rates to the BPL and
Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
"We are repeatedly requesting you. Please distribute
it. You are procuring (foodgrains) at a huge cost. But the
storage capacity will be inadequate to cope with the fresh
harvest. That is happening every time when you have bumper
crops. Anybody who watches the TV will have the same view.
"There are said to be 3,000 malnourishment deaths in
the country. It may not be 3000 but even if it is three deaths
in a country like ours, it is a matter of grave concern," the
bench had said.
"Why can`t you give it to the poor on a subsidised
rate," the bench had asked the Solicitor General of India
after the petitioner PUCL (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties)
complained that massive quantity of foodgrains were recently
destroyed in Punjab.
(With PTI inputs)