Stock of food grains in government godowns was “practically double” the buffer norms, Food Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said, but maintained that responsibility of distribution to poor lay with the States. He blamed the states for not lifting food grains allocated to them.
“Our warehouses are full. As per buffer norms we have practically double...There are no shortcomings,” Mr. Pawar said in the Lok Sabha during the Question Hour.
Mr. Pawar insisted that procurement, storage and allocation to States was the responsibility of the Centre but distribution through PDS was the job of the States.
“The government has made an additional ad hoc allocation of 25 lakh tonnes of food grains at BPL prices for distribution to BPL families in States and Union Territories,” Mr. Pawar said.
However, since September 7, 2010 when the decision of allocation of this additional food grains was taken as per Supreme Court’s suggestions, “hardly 6 per cent of this was lifted by the States”, he said.
Mr. Pawar said the States can hire more warehouses to store excess food grains.
In reply to another question, Mr. Pawar said GPS tracking system was being used to keep an eye on vehicles carrying food grains in the wake of reports that grains meant for PDS were being sold in the open market.
He informed the Lok Sabha that Tamil Nadu and Kerala had taken the initiative to include items other than rice, wheat and sugar in the PDS and some other States were also working on it.