Uproar in LS over rotting foodgrains, House adjourns twice
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 18:45
  
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 implemented.

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 point.

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 August 15.

PTI


First Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010, 18:45


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