BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday asked district Collectors to act as agents of change and ensure that no compromise is made in the quality of food grains under the public distribution system (PDS).
The Chief Minister advised the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Department to come up with an SMS-based complaint monitoring system to redress all PDS related grievances.
Self Help Groups and other community-based organisations should be actively involved in the monitoring of PDS at the grassroots level. They should be issued with pre-printed postcards to give regular feedback to Collectors and Sub-Collectors on the functioning of PDS in their locality, Naveen said on the second day of the Collectors’ Conference here.
The Chief Minister asked the department to put these systems in place within two months.
Naveen asked the Collectors to personally undertake surprise checks and take steps to prevent black marketing of kerosene.
Stating that the performance of Collectors in invoking the provisions of Black Marketing Act is not up to the mark, Patnaik said henceforth, hoarders and black marketers are to be dealt with strongly. Private retailers should be completely replaced with institution-based PDS in a time bound manner.
Stating that the Odisha Food Security Act will be implemented soon, Patnaik said the new Act will cover around 3.26 crore people in the State.
Indicators reflecting the socio-economic conditions of a family will be introduced to make the coverage inclusive, he said adding, nearly 72 lakh digitised ration cards will be distributed to the surveyed families to stop pilferage.
The Chief Minister said efforts will be made to raise productivity by creating additional irrigation potential for 10 lakh hectares of land within next five years.
To achieve this objective, Rs 5000 crore will be spent each year on irrigation projects, deep bore wells, mega lift irrigation projects and restoration of the defunct lift irrigation points, he said.
Efforts will be made for easy access to quality seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and farm mechanisation along with agricultural credit with the lowest percentage of interest.
To support agricultural marketing, the Government will create a network of storage facilities, including cold storage chains, threshing floors, drying yards and mandis with sound connectivity with marketing avenues, Naveen said.
As Rs 400 crore is lying unspent with the Regulated Marketing Committees (RMCs), the Chief Minister said the Government has substantially enhanced the limit of administrative approval of Collectors and Sub-Collectors pertaining to the execution of development works in the RMCs.
The Collectors must take advantage of it and utilise the entire unspent amount within the next six months, the Chief Minister said.