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Posted at: Mar 20, 2015, 2:08 AM; last updated: Mar 20, 2015, 12:34 AM (IST)

Resolve procurement issue in 10 days: HC

About the case

  • The directions came after the court was told that the guidelines for procuring grains were being violated
  • It has been alleged that the procurement was being carried out without approval from the Centre
  • The HC has asked the Centre and the governments of Punjab and Haryana to put their heads together for sorting out the issue

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 19

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today asked the Centre and the governments of Punjab and Haryana to sort out the issues arising out of the procurement of grains. For the purpose, the Bench headed by Justice Satish Kumar Mittal gave the authorities concerned 10 days time.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, the Bench directed the holding of a meeting between the representatives of Punjab and Haryana, and Secretary, Agriculture, along with Secretary, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs.

The directions came after the Bench was told by Assistant Solicitor-General of India Chetan Mittal that the guidelines for procuring grains were being violated. He added the procurement was being carried out without approval from the Centre.

The Punjab Government’s stand that maize could not be sold through the public distribution system in the state also failed to find favour with the Union Government. Chetan Mittal pointed out that Punjab was known for its “makki ki roti”, yet the state was unwilling to distribute it through PDS.

An affidavit by Manoj Kumar Gupta, Director, Department of Food & Public Distribution, was also placed before the Bench. It said: “The stand of the State of Punjab that maize is not utilised for PDS is erroneous”. Referring to the recommendations by scientists and nutritional experts, he said the state government should promote consumption of maize under food security programmes. Coarse grains were said to have better nutritional values, especially for midday meal scheme and integrated child development services.

“The subsidy to the state can only be given as per the guidelines if it is distributed through Targeted Public Distribution Scheme or under other welfare schemes,” the affidavit added. He concluded by saying the harvesting of maize in kharif marketing season of 2014-15 was already over. “However, if the state government is prepared to submit a suitable revised plan as per guidelines of the Union Government, taking only the expected market arrivals from the farmers into account, the same would be considered by the Department as a special case”.

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