NFSA Gift: 2.3 Lakh Souls Left Out In Srinagar

16 December 2015
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: As J&K's summer capital is on boil against the implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state, it has come to fore that a whopping 2.31 lakh souls in the City would be deprived of subsidized ration, besides majority of the families would get less than 25 kilograms of food grains. The City is witnessing massive protests over the past few days against the implementation of NFSA from February 01 next year. While J&K government last evening admitted that 2 lakh population of Srinagar would be left out, but the actual number of such souls is estimated to be around 2.31 lakh. An official handout issued by the State government claimed that against the total population of 12.69 lakh as per 2011 census in Srinagar, 10.63 lakh souls would be covered by CAPD - 6.03 lakh in priority sector and 4.59 lakh in non-priority. However, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar (vide communication 35-1243-45 dated 17.08. 2015) has communicated to CAPD Department that population of the summer capital was 12.94 lakh - implying 2.31 lakh residents of the city would not be getting subsidized ration either at NFSA rates of Rs 3 per kilogram or on Above Poverty Line rates of Rs 10 per kilogram. Moreover, the apprehensions of City residents that their monthly ration quota would come down are substantiated by DC's communication pointing that average family size in Srinagar is 4.99 implying that most of the families would bet getting little less than 25 kilograms of ration per month. Under NFSA, each soul would be getting 5 kilogram ration per month against the existing 35 kilograms per family per month. 'This is a fact that quantity of ration provided to each family in Srinagar would get reduced under NFSA due to comparatively smaller family size in the City,' an official wishing anonymity told Greater Kashmir. Pertinently, the implementation of National Food Security Act- which was enacted by Congress-led UPA regime in 2013- in J&K came up for discussion in the state cabinet on November 20. The cabinet decided to constitute a Cabinet Sub Committee with Deputy Chief Minister DrNirmal Singh as convener and CAPD Minister ChoudaryZulfikar Ali and Minister for Finance Dr. HaseebDrabu as members. However, serious differences cropped up between CAPD minister and the members over implementation of the food law. 'The CAPD Minister had suggested that the law should be initially implemented on experimental basis in six districts but it was opposed by two other members,' sources said. Later, following the CSC meeting, ChoudaryZulfikar Ali had submitted a dissenting note to Chief Minister over CSC decisions vis-a-vis implementation of NFSA. The cabinet which met again on December 3, ignored the CAPD Minister's observations deciding to go by CSC report and clear implementation of NFSA. On November 20, ChoudaryZulfikar Ali had told this newspaper that 17 lakh souls would be left-out after the law is implemented. 'We will cover 74 lakh souls under NFSA while another 45 lakh population would get ration at APL rates,' he had said. On July 7, 2015, the CAPD Minister had told a meeting in New Delhi that J&K would be facing shortage of more than 2 lakh metric ton food grains to cover its population after NFSA is implemented in the state.