Monday, September 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Pak rakes up J&K issue at UN conference

Durban, September 2
In a sharp attack on India, Pakistan today raked up the Kashmir issue at the UN Conference Against Racism here, accusing New Delhi of “brutal repression” that it said had led to killing of the 75,000 people.

Addressing the conference, Pakistan Foreign Minister Abdul Sattar criticised India, without naming it, saying “it is sad that, in our own region, this theme of denigrating the struggle for self-determination as terrorism and associating terrorism with Islam, is being actively promoted to justify the ongoing brutal repression of the Kashmiri people.” 

Mr Sattar’s comments come three weeks ahead of a scheduled summit meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

The Indian delegation to the conference is led by Minister of State for External Affairs Omar Abdullah. PTI


List BPL families in three months, states told
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 2
The Centre today issued a “stringent” order asking states to identify all families below poverty line (BPL) within three months and plug loopholes in the public distribution system (PDS).

The PDS (Control) Order, 2001, comes close on the heels of alleged starvation deaths in Orissa and Himachal Pradesh and a sharp attack by political parties on the Centre for “dismal” food management despite burgeoning food stocks in godowns. The Centre has, however, blamed the states for meagre lifting.

Food Minister Shanta Kumar told reporters that the order under the Essential Commodities Act (ECA) made it mandatory for states to complete identification of the BPL families, licensing of fair price shops and check irregularities in the issuance of ration cards.

“The order, which has punitive provisions for violation of guidelines, has given a legal shape to the directives being given to states by the Centre from time to time to stem the irregularities in the PDS system and make ration shops accountable”, he said.

The move also aims at accelerating identification of the poorest of the poor one crore households under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana for providing foodgrains at heavily subsidised rates in those states which are yet to complete the task.

The Minister said from now on subsidy and allocation of foodgrains would depend on actual utilisation under the PDS to encourage states to increase their lifting and ensure that the disbursal reached the beneficiaries.

Mr Shanta Kumar said punishment for violation of the provisions of the order ranged from imprisonment up to seven years and fine, but at the same time as an incentive to both states and fair price shops, awards had also been provided for, to those whose performance in food distribution was exemplary.

Regretting that guidelines and instructions by the Centre for food supply were not being implemented by the states, the minister said the order made it mandatory for the state governments to review the lists of BPL and Antyodaya families every year to ensure that only eligible people were benefitted.

He said the order would also strengthen the hands of the states for dealing with the fair price shops (FSPs) who would now have to prepare, display and send data on the receipt, distribution and stocked foodgrains on a monthly basis to the district officer.

Districts would collate the same and send it to the state secretariat which, in turn, would furnish it to the Centre thereby ensuring that the nationwide position of PDS stocks would be available with the Union Food Ministry.

It would be on this basis that the next allotment would be made to the states, he said, adding that if any diversion was detected, subsequent allocation would be put on hold.

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