New Delhi: A Parliamentary panel has said the number of persons convicted for violation of the Essential Commodities Act in the past three years is and asked the Centre to impress upon states to curb hoarding of food items more vigorously.
"The number of raids conducted, number of persons arrested, prosecuted and convicted and the value of goods confiscated in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for violation of the EC Act is very negligible given the large population and size of the country," the Parliamentary Standing Committee on consumer affairs, food and public distribution said in its report.
Pointing out that states have the power to take action against hoarders under the Essential Commodities (EC) Act and the Prevention of Black-marketing and Maintenance of Essential Commodities Act, it said, "The Centre should impress upon the state governments to enforce the provisions of the two Acts more vigorously."
The Committee asked the central government to monitor the implementation of the two Acts stringently.
The number of essential commodities which stood at 70 in the year 1989 has been brought down to seven at present. These include food items, drugs, fertiliser, petroleum products, raw jute, seeds of food crops and fruits among others.
The Essential Commodities Act is implemented by the state governments and union territories (UTs), leaving the central government to merely monitor the action taken by states in implementing the provisions of the Act.
State and UTs use the powers of the Act to impose stock or turnover limits for various commodities and penalise those who hold them in excess of the limit. Stock limits have been imposed in several states for pulses, edible oil, edible oilseeds, rice, paddy and sugar.