Union Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies K V Thomas on Saturday said that panchayats will have more importance and power in food distribution system once the Food Safety Act is implemented.
He was speaking after presiding over the district-level vigilance review meeting of the Poverty Alleviation Unit.
The minister said small storage units would be set up at block level for storing food grain for meeting requirements up to three months.
“The storage units at the block-level will be set up as part of the National Employment Guarantee Scheme. The storage units will be provided with all the necessary facilities and size which is needed to meet the vital requirements of food distribution centres in each and every block. However, the land required for the construction of the storage units should be provided by the state government. As per the guidelines mentioned in the Food Safety Act, the panchayats in all districts will be given the necessary powers for carrying out the activities related to the distribution of food grain, to conduct the review of the project status and its prioritisation,” the Union Minister of State said.
The minister said in order to protect the coastal areas, in addition to the seawalls, mangroves should be planted.
“In islands and the coastal areas, mangroves will serve the purpose of an additional protection wall. More studies should be conducted to learn the feasibility of such a plan,” he said. As per the available statistics, the review meeting observed that till September 10 this year, `20.41 crore was spend under the National Employment Guarantee Scheme.
Two roads and one bridge under Vazhakkulam block panchayat and three roads under Pambakkuda block panchayat were constructed under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna. Three road works are progressing under Mulanthuruthy and Parakkadavu block panchayats.
Tenders were already floated for the construction of 27 roads, the authorities said. MLAs Loudy Louis and T U Kuruvila were also present.