Members of Right to Food and Work Campaign have written to the state government about the flaws in the proposed National Food Security Bill and have also suggested to the Prime Minister the changes that need to be brought in the bill before it is presented in the forthcoming Winter session.
About 8.5 crore metric ton of foodgrains is lying in the godowns of the Central government which,after rotting,would be exported at a throwaway price as fodder. Instead,the state government should insist that it should be made available to hungry people of the country, said Anuradha Talwar,a senior member of WB Right to Food and Work Campaign. She also said that the state governments initiative of expanding the Rs 2 per kg foodgrains scheme was commendable but its benefits were not reaching the intended beneficiaries. The ration mafias are taking it away, she said.
In the letter to the PM,it has also been said that if the government was looking at the nutrition factor of the underprivileged,they should not only be giving 14 kg rice per head per month but also 800 gm edible oil and 1250 gm
pulses per head per month along with it.
To get rid of false ration cards and ensure that the intended beneficiaries get their share,there is a need to duplicate the pattern that has been done in Andhra Pradesh. The BPL list should be corrected through public hearings organised by district officials and the corrected list be put up at ration shops, said another member,Father Irudaya Jothi SJ.
Sharadendu Biswas,convenor,Right to Food and Work Campaign said that the state government had asked to put up a vigilance committee to find out the loopholes in the public distribution system and the committee was supposed to meet every month. So far there has been not a single meeting.
Also,the committee was supposed to have a representative of NGOs. None of them had been called for a meeting as well. When we challenged the BDO,it was found that the government order had not yet reached them, he said and added that since June 2011 there had been 13 cases of death due to starvation and malnutrition but according to the health department they either died of snake bite or due to old age.
It would be very difficult to substantiate the findings and negate the state statement, he said.