New Delhi: The issue of rotting foodgrains
and the Supreme Court order directing the government to
distribute them among the hungry today led to uproar in the
Lok Sabha prompting two adjournments.
Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue
hours after the Supreme Court took exception to Agriculture
Minister Sharad Pawar`s statement that its directive on free
distribution of foodgrains to the poor instead of allowing
them to rot in godowns was a suggestion which could not be
Swaraj made the statement in the midst of a discussion on
the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2010,
prompting an impromptu debate on the matter and demands for
presence of Pawar in the House.
Pawar, who later came to the House, said government would
honour the decision of the Supreme Court, a copy of which has
not reached him.
Amid opposition uproar over rotting food grains, she
raised the issue after a calling attention motion moved by
Harsimrat Kaur (Akali Dal) over rejection of 40 lakh tonnes of
rice variety PAU-201 by the Food Safety Standards Authority.
Kaur`s calling attention earlier had generated heat in the
House with Akali Dal members twice trooping into the Well
dissatisfied over Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad`s reply
that a report of the expert committee, including those from
the National Institute of Nutrition, on PAU-201 rice variety
is likely to be submitted by the second week of September.
The Food Safety Standards Authority of India has rejected
it citing provisions of the Prevention of Food Adulteration
(PFA) and the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
Kaur made a strong plea to allow the 40 lakh tonnes rice
to be distributed for human consumption contending that the
analysis reports of 75 samples reveal that only nine of them
were not found to be conforming to the standards of rice as
prescribed under the PFA rules, a stand accepted by Azad.
She said food grains are rotting while people are going
hungry as she took out a packet of rice to drive home her
Kaur said an early decision in this was necessary as a new
crop was coming and there was no place to keep it with the
godowns being full of PAU-201 rice.
Sharing members` concern, Azad said it was mainly a matter
between the Punjab Government and the FCI and "since the
matter was referred to us, we have been faithfully" carrying
out the job.
Azad gave a list of efforts taken to resolve the issue
noting that Pawar even convened a meeting of all concerned,
including the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab and Kaur on