Protests in Valley over new food law

'Shopkeepers don't give full quantity'

With National Food Security Act (NFSA) coming into effect on February 15 in Jammu and Kashmir, people across the Valley have been protesting against the implementation of the controversial Act.

The Act guarantees five kilogrammes of rice per person in a month. The protesters allege that store keepers at ration depos further deduct the quantity, providing only three kilos rice per person.

Earlier every family used to get 35 kg of rations, irrespective of the number of family members.

In old city areas of Srinagar and other districts of the Valley, protests against the Act erupted at several places with people demanding immediate revocation of the law.

The protesters burned used tyres and raised pro-justice slogans,and said that the controversial Act has forced them to starvation.

“We demand immediate revocation of this Act. Scientifically, an individual needs 13 kg rice per month for consumption. Under NFSA, the authorities have announced five kg per person. The situation went from bad to worse as store keepers are reducing the quantity from five to thee kg per persons,” said a protester. 

Director Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Abdul Rashid War said they were exploring how to increase the scale of ration distributed per person under NFSA.‘People misinformed’

“We have made a proposal and will submit it soon to the government,” he told reporters here.

The Director said people are being misinformed about the Act and the scale of rations.

“We are rationalising the system of public distribution of foodgrains and people will get ration properly. Some miscreants and people with vested interests are spreading false information among people about the law,” Var claimed.

NFSA was one of flagship programmes of the UPA-II introduced in 2013. However, the then J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah, who was heading the National Conference-Congress coalition government in the state, refused to implement it on the ground that it was not beneficial to the people of the state.

However, after the delay of more than two years, state government headed by late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed last December decided to implement the Act.

J&K’s population is estimated to be 1.36 crore. While the programme will cover 74 lakh population, Centre will reportedly provide tide-over quota at Above Poverty Line (APL) rates for feeding 45 lakh people. For the left-out 17 lakhs, sources said, state government will purchase foodgrain from open market.

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