Crime to waste foodgrains, says SC

"In a country where admittedly people are starving, it is a crime to waste even a single grain. The official statement made by the government indicates that there is wastage of food at many places. The government may consider constructing adequate warehouses or food storage facilities on a long-term basis.

"On a short term basis, they can also consider hiring warehouses or putting up water-proof tents to save the grain. But all-out efforts must be made to ensure that not a single grain is wasted," a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and B S Chauhan said in an order.

Referring to the Justice Wadhwa Committee report on pilferage, the Bench said the government must make those entrusted with running the system accountable.
"According to the reports of Justice Wadhwa, there is pilferage at every stage. To avoid too many stages, the Union of India may consider that ration be sent to fair price shops directly from godowns of Food Corporation of India.

"There must be total accountability of all those people who are responsible and in-charge of PDS and government may consider taking appropriate steps, including prosecution against those people who are found responsible for misusing officials and getting involved in corrupt and unfair practices," the apex court said.

The Bench also granted two weeks to the Centre to file its response on the earlier direction to fix a limit of 35 kgs of rice/wheat for BPL and Antyodaya Anna Yojana cardholders.

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