Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday demanded an assurance from the Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar that the grains stored in godowns would be distributed among the poor.

“The government should give us a plan to do it within a week,” she said.

Earlier, Mr. Pawar said in the House the Union government would respect the Supreme Court's decision on free distribution of food grains to the poor.

The issue was raised by Ms. Swaraj after the Supreme Court clarified that it ordered free distribution of grains to the poor in its August 12 directive instead of allowing it to rot in godowns, and it was not a suggestion as being made out by Mr. Pawar.

Backed by the entire Opposition, Sharad Yadav of the Janata Dal (United) said: “The highest court of the country has said the earlier direction was an order and not a suggestion. The government should distribute foodgrains to the areas which are drought-prone.”

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh said grains were rotting and farmers were in dire straits.

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