Bhubaneswar: Asking the ruling BJD in Odisha to refrain from "playing politics" over Food Security Bill, senior Congress leader Niranjan Patnaik on Monday urged the state Government to implement it and support the Bill in Parliament.
"The President has accorded assent to the Food Security Ordinance, 2013, which has become a law of the land. But representatives of BJD government have been claiming that there is nothing new in the Food Security Bill as the State
Government is already providing 25 kg of rice to BPL families at Rs 1 per Kg," Patnaik told reporters.
"This is an absurd and politically motivated argument. The fact is the state Government is not showing any seriousness and the sincerity to free Odisha and our country from the scourge of hunger," the former Minister said.
"UPA Government has been trying to create a regime of legal rights and enacted epoch-making laws including RTI, MNREGA and Right to Education Act. The government has now come up with another law that creates a legal right for the less privileged section over food," Patnaik said.
Once the law is implemented, any authority responsible for allowing a person to be hungry can be held accountable and even punished under section 41 of the Act, he said.
As per the proposed law, there is a provision of a District Grievance Officer under Section 21, which will have the exclusive responsibility of looking into problems of hunger and will be empowered to take action against any authority responsible for neglecting the hungry, he said.
At the state level there will be a State Food Commission and at the centre, a Central Food Commission under Section 22 and 26 of the Indian Constitution. The Commission will enjoy powers of a civil court and can award punishment amounting to a fine of Rs 5000, Patnaik said.
"I am sorry to find that Odisha Government is claiming that they have already done everything when it is at the bottom in hunger and malnutrition," he said.
"I request the Chief Minister to sincerely implement the new law", he said.