Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali today attended a high level meeting on "food issues" of Jammu & Kashmir at New Delhi.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan chaired the meeting in which various decisions pertaining to the State were taken.
In the meeting which was also attended by concerned Union Secretaries and senior functionaries of Government of India and Government of J&K, the Zulfkar projected various demands, an official statement said.
According to the statement, Paswan agreed upon resolving all food issues of J&K and said that Centre is having "soft approach towards J&K state and is ready to provide every sort of help to the State."
Demand for food grains
Projecting the demand, Zulfkar requested the Union Minister to provide food grains to State for implementation of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES) at APL rates.
The Minster demanded that the State would need additional amount to meet out the requirement for MMSFES and they need immediate central help in successfully implementation of this scheme.
The minister projected that the State is poor with least agriculture production and meager resources. He also appealed the Union Minister to direct FCI to ensure the availability of 4.30 lakh MT of Wheat and Rice for implementation of the scheme.
Responding to the demand, the Union Minister assured full central support and said that they will take positive view in central help in the implementation of MMSFES.
Pressing for enhancement of storage capacity in the state, Zulfkar sought central assistance for increasing the storage facility and setting up of SILOS at Khanbal Anantnag, Lethpora Pulwama, Srinagar, Baramulla, Kupwara, Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts.
He projected construction of FCI godowns at Reasi, Ramban and Marwah, Warwan in Jammu division.
The Union Minister directed FCI and Consumer Affairs department to examine the feasibility for establishment of SILOS in J&K.
Demanding funding for end-to-end computerization to the State on 90:10 basis, the CAPD Minister said that in order to bring the transparency in the public distribution system and to check pilferage, implementation of e-PDS project is necessary.
Shifting of godowns
Taking up the matter of shifting of godowns from congested city area of Shaheed Gunj Srinagar, Zulfkar brought into the notice of Paswan that four godowns, two at Gulab Bagh (Shaheed Gunj), Srinagar and two at Lethapora (Pulwama) are under the possession of FCI for the last about 30 years.
He said that State Government is contemplating to shift the godowns from Gulab Bagh Shaheed Gunj to outskirts as the godowns are in the heart of the City. He pressed for issuing instructions to FCI to identify some location outside Srinagar City for construction of godowns at their own level.
Projecting the demand of supply of advance three-month ration to the state, the Minister said that due to tough terrain and unique topography of J&K, the state is facing trouble in supplying ration every month in the far flung areas and urged Centre to help resolve the issue.
The Minister apprised Paswan that at present the department is facing lot of difficulties in lifting of foodgrains on account of shortage of labour with FCI despite the availability of adequate transport as also the food grains in FCI godowns.
He expressed dissatisfaction over poor lifting of FCI particularly at FSD Mir Bazaar, Gulab Bagh, Kralahar Baramulla and Lethapora. He said that there is need to improve efficiency of dispatches by FCI in J&K.
Demanding establishment of Quality Control Lab in J&K, Zulfkar said that there is no laboratory facility for testing the quality of foodgrains and other commodities available in Jammu and Kashmir.
He demanded funding for the establishment of quality control Lab at Jammu and Srinagar for the purpose.
Infra for LMD
Demanding infrastructure for Legal Metrology Department, Zulfkar said that J&K is in dire need of Central Assistance on priority basis for compensating the loss incurred to laboratories, equipments, building and enforcement vehicles due to devastating floods occurred during September 2014.
He said that in the Consultative meeting with Northern Zone States held at SKICC Srinagar on 4th & 5th September 2015, the Centre has assured all possible assistance under various sectors.
He demanded 11 working laboratories, 2 Controller office buildings, 2 secondary standard laboratories, 2 research and development labs besides funds for instruments and publicity of laws.
The Minister also took up the matter of establishing State Consumer Help Line, Consumer Welfare Fund, setting up of Retail Price Monitoring Cell (RPMC) and funds for Infrastructure Development for District Consumer Fora.
The Union Minister gave patient hearing to all the demands and said that Union Government is ready to resolve consumer issues of J&K, the statement said.