Food Grain Shortage Hits JK

2 August 2009
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: The monthly supply of food grains to Jammu and Kashmir by the government of India is falling short by more than half of the requirement, hence resulting in acute shortage of the rice and other ration items. Sources told Greater Kashmir on Sunday that as per the present population of the state, which is more than one crore, the demand for the food grains had grown up to 1.31 lakh metric tons per month. “But the state is getting only 63,067 metric tons of food grains from the GOI which is only 47 per cent of the actual requirement. The big gap in the demand and supply is resulting in acute shortage,” sources said. The government of India, sources said, was allocating food grains to Jammu and Kashmir and seven other special categories states at the scale of 35 kilograms per household per month for all categories of rationees including APL, BPL and AYY-the poorest category of people. “The allocation is based on projected population of 2000 which was 99.45 lakh with 18.02 lakh households based on average size of household of 5.52 fixed by Planning Commission of India. As such state’s monthly quota was fixed at 63,067 MTs (42,931 MTs rice and 20,136 MTs wheat) per month,” sources said. They said since 2000 1.58 lakh Ration Tickets have been added to the state population taking the number of the tickets to 19,60 lakh. “But the government of India does not accept it while making allotment as per its policy to restrict Targeted Public Distribution System to 2000 population,” sources said. Including rice and wheat per month to supply 13 kilograms of rice per head per family to the people living Below Poverty Line, Above Poverty Line and AYY. But Jammu and Kashmir is getting only 63.067 metric tons of food grains per month, which is less than 50 percent of the actual requirement The average off-take of food grains from the sale outlets of the PDS ranged between 60 per cent to 70 per cent in the past. More over there was no much variation of prices of food grains of TPDS and open market, sources said. “But souring prices of Food grains especially during the past few years led to higher take-off of PDS food grains from the sale centres with the average monthly take off going up to 65,298 metric tons during 2008-09 in comparison to 59,047 metric tons during 2007-08,” sources said. Due to the gap in demand and supply of the food grains, sources said the government was not in a position even to implement its last months’ cabinet order in letter and spirit wherein it had decided to supply 13 kilograms of rice to each member of a family per living in the category of the Above Poverty Line, per month. The government had also decided to distribute 35 kg of ration per head per month to people living under Below Poverty Line and AAY, instead of 35 kg per family respectively. In response to a question by a legislator in the Legislative Assembly, the minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, Qamar Ali Akhoon, recently told the House that to overcome the shortage, the state government had sought additional supply of 20,000 metric tons of rice from the central government till arrangements were made a state level. “As a short term measure the CAPD department has been directed to procure ration from the open market for distribution t the consumers through CAPD,” he said. He had termed the supply received by the state from government of India as “grossly inadequate.”