‘Open FCI godowns to ease pressure from drought’



Panaji: Communist Party of India has demanded distribution of food stocked by FCI to the people under Universal Public Distribution system, to ease pressures arising from the drought situation in the country.

During his Independence Day speech this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should announce UPDS under which 35 kg of food grains would be distributed to every family across the nation, CPI general secretary S Sudhakar Reddy said, while talking to reporters here today.

"The BPL and APL families, everybody should get it. If the government wants, it can exclude those families paying income tax from the scheme," Reddy said.

"The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has five crore tonnes of food grains stocked in its godowns which they want to export. An additional five crore is required to satisfy the requirement of entire country," he said.

The implementation of UPDS needs to cover 24 crore households in the country, which would require Rs 1,80,000 crore, he said.

The central government, which is giving financial benefits to the corporates in the form of subsidies and concessions, should divert the money for UPDS, he said.

"This budget, Rs 52,500 crore worth subsidies and concessions was delivered to the corporates. You (government) reduce subsidies for corporate houses and spend it for common man," Reddy said.

If the Union government fails to announce UPDS on August 15, then CPI will observe September 12 as Food Security Day, he said.

"On that day, there will be picketing in front of FCI godowns or collector's offices," he said, adding the demonstrations would be peaceful.

PTI