Kolkata: The Centre has appreciated the
paddy procurement by the West Bengal government, but has asked
it for streamlining the drive.
"We are happy at the procurement by the West Bengal
government," Union Food secretary Bhusan Chandra Gupta said
after a meeting with state chief secretary Samar Ghosh at
Writers` Buildings on Saturday.
Gupta later said that the state government was asked to
ensure that cooperative societies act as agents of the
farmers. "Common issues" were discussed with the chief
secretary, where procurement (paddy) was accorded top
priority, he added.
To a question, Gupta said that modernisation of PDS
was also discussed at the meeting where it was made clear that
all cards would be digitised with the help of biometrics.
"Procurement should be streamlined and farmers should
get payment through cheques. The sanctioned storage capacity
should be fully used. We are happy at the procurement of the
state government," the Union Food secretary said.
Gupta said that a meeting has been called in Delhi on
February 8 and 9 on "food security".
Later, the chief secretary said he discussed with Gupta
how godown space could be made available on PPP model.
It was informed to him that the state government was firm
on total procurement so that import can be stopped.
"Our PDS is not fool-proof, but not unsatisfactory,"
Ghosh said, adding that the district magistrates and
superintendents of police had been asked to monitor
To a question, the chief secretary said that rice was
still being distributed among people of Jangalmahal at Rs two
per kg and instructions had been issued to open more food
outlets in that region.
The chief secretary told a questioner that the state
government had no reports of any farmer`s suicide in any part
of the state.