THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala has sought an extension of 10 more months to implement the Food Security Act in the state, Food Minister Anoop Jacob told the Assembly on Thursday.
Responding to a Calling Attention Motion moved by CPI leader C Divakaran on the concerns surrounding the Act, the minister said efforts have begun to renew the ration cards in the state. “The date for implementing the Food Security Act was fixed as July 4. However Kerala has requested for an additional 10 months to implement the same. The state has to frame rules for implementing the Act, as per the Central rules,” Anoop Jacob said.
Divakaran referred to the various concerns in implementing the Act, saying that it should be implemented only after serious consultations as it would sabotage the existing Public Distribution System (PDS). “The Act does not recognise the existing APL and BPL categories. Also, if the Act is implemented there will be a decrease in the rice allotment quota for families. The Act will bring in a new setup resulting in the Food Department becoming irrelevant,” Divakaran said.
Dismissing such worries as unwarranted, the minister said that the BPL category would be termed as the priority group and the public distribution system will not be disbanded. “The state had already requested the Centre to increase the rice allotment from 14 lakh metric tonnes to 16 lakh metric tonnes per year. With this, APL families can be given 13 kg of rice in the place of 9 kg now. The allotment for BPL category would increase from 7.72 lakh metric tonnes to 10 lakh metric tonnes,” the Minister said.
Maveli store in Attappadi Soon
Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob said that a Supplyco depot, a Maveli store and a mobile Maveli store will be started in Attappadi to make sure the availability of essential commodities in the region.
Replying to a question in the Assembly, he said that the government will start Maveli stores in 50 panchayats where it is not present now.
Stating that there were currently 12 mobile Maveli stores, Anoop Jacob said that assistance from the Centre will be sought for starting more mobile units. There was also a proposal to start mobile maveli units in the coastal and tribal areas, he added. Anoop Jacob said the government will render all help for distribution of products of small-scale entrepreneurs.
With regard to paddy procurement, he said that an agreement has been reached with as many as 60 mills for dehusking five metric tonne of paddygrains collected from farmers.
On a question regarding safety of transportation of cooking gas, Anoop Jacob said that complaints have been received that safety norms were not being adhered to.