65 new LPG distribution centers coming up shortly: Akhoon * Gujarat Petronet conducts survey for Jammu Gas Pipeline

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 13: The House today unanimously passed grants amounting to ` 94166.87 lakh for the year 2012-13 in favour of the departments under the charge of Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) and Transport, Qamar Ali Akhoon.

After moving the demand for the grants, the Minister in his reply to debate in the House said that the State is getting 63067 metric tonnes of food grains per month from the Centre. He said the population of the State as per the 2001 census was 101.44 lakh i.e. about two lakh more than the estimated population as on March 1, 2000. The food grains allocated to the State is, therefore, not adequate to meet the requirements of the population of the state, he added.

Akhoon said that the requirement of ration as per the prevalent scale for the family units based on 2011 census come to 79560 tonnes against the current allocation of 63067 tonnes. The gap of 16500 tonnes is met by the state the additional allocation made by the Union Government from time to time. During the year 2011-12 the Union Government has made additional allocation of 108197 MTs of food grains, he added.

He said under Rajiv Gandhi Gramin LPG Vitrak Yojna, about 65 block level locations have been identified for setting up of new Gas Distribution Centers across the State in first phase. All other block headquarters will be covered in the IInd phase while as in the third phase all big villages will also be covered so that this modern fuel reaches every nook and corner of the State. This will not only reduce the scarcity of LPG, which has been witnessed in the recent past but will also save our natural resources like forests from exploitation, he added.

The Minister said that the process for bringing gas through pipeline to Jammu has begun and recently a team of Gujarat Petronet Limited was in Jammu to conduct survey as per the directions of the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Regarding computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS), Akhoon said that the State Government is committed for the modernization of the TPDS in accordance with the directions of the Supreme Court, adding that under these directions the process involved in the system has to be computerized. He said that for end to end computerization system, an action plan has been prepared and sent to the Union Government. The project is envisaged to be completed at a cost of ` 74.12 crore during a period of three years commencing from 2011-12 to 2014-15. The project envisages computerization supply chain management, beneficiary authentication and distribution authentication, he said and added that the computerization of TPDS will not only bring in the much needed transparency in the working of the department but will also prevent pilferages and leakages.

Referring launching of the websites, the Minister said department could not have remained untouched by the winds of change brought in by the Right to Information Act and with a view to provide seekers the information free and at their own convenience, the department has launched three websites one in administrative department and two in the two divisions of Kashmir and Jammu.

Akhoon said that two toll free numbers for consumer grievance registration and redressal have been installed in two Directorates of CAPD. The complainant from any part of the State can log his complaint at 1800-180-7011 for which he will not be billed any call charges.

The Minister said that the construction of new godowns, for augmentation of storage capacity in the State is in full swing adding that 156 godowns including 95 in the Valley and 61 in Jammu division are under construction. Besides, these there are also 18 FCI godowns, 9 each in both divisions with a combined capacity of 96394 MTs, he said.

The Minister said that requirement is more in the remote and hilly areas and on its part the CAPD Department has proposed construction of Food storage godowns in rural as well as in urban areas during 12th five year plan on need basis. Besides, under the Private Entrepreneurship Guarantee (PEG) scheme of FCI, storage capacity of 3.62 lakh tones is approved by the High Level Committee in all the districts of the State.

In respect of safeguarding of consumer interests, the Minister said eight new district consumer forums, four each for Jammu and Kashmir divisions, were created. These forums are headed by the Principal District and Sessions Judge of each district as its ex-officio president. The Divisional Consumer Forums Jammu and Srinagar, too, have been converted into district consumer forums for the respective districts. He said consumer councils have also been constituted to suggest ways and means for redressal of consumer grievances.

Regarding procurement of farmers produce, Akhoon said to ensure remunerative price to the farmers for their produce, the FCI was motivated to enter the procurement business after taking up the matter with the Union Government. He said during Rabbi marketing season, about 12424 MT of paddy, rice were procured. This has encouraged farmers to come forward with their produce in larger numbers and save themselves from the exploitation by unscrupulous traders, the Minister added.

The Minister said after the enactment of Public Service Guarantee Act 6113 cases were disposed off by the department within the stipulated period and seven review meetings were held at the divisional level for implementation of the said Act.

About State Transport Corporation, the Minister said that the Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) as of now is passing through a revival phase. He said the Corporation has experienced a major cut in its employment strength by introducing Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) and by weeding out the outdated vehicles and buses which used to be run at huge maintenance cost and fuel consumption. He said a series of management reforms have also been introduced and the responsibilities of the management have been made specific to each separate department in the SRTC. This, he said, has given results and the losses of the corporation have substantially come down.

Mr. Akhoon said that the corporation achieved historic operational revenue of ` 58.37 crore during first 9 months of the financial year 2011-12 with historic high monthly revenue of ` 8.29 crores during July 2011.

During the year, the corporation purchased 81 vehicles out of plan funds allocated for the year, 2011-12 together with auction realization of ` 4.87 crore.

Earlier, Balwant Singh Mankotia, Abdul Haq Khan, Ashok Kumar, Dr. Mustafa Kamaal, Bharat Bhushan, Ashwani Kumar Sharma, Harshdev Singh, Niazam-ud-Din Bhat, G. M. Saroori, T. Namgyal, Rafi Ahmad Mir, Lal Chand, Krishan Chander Bhagat, Bimla Luthra, Ch. Zulafkar Ali, Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, Bakar Rasool, Feroz Ahmad Khan, Irfan Shah, Ch. Sukhnandan, Abdul Majid Wani, Peerzada Mansoor Hussain, Basharat Bukhari, Mohammad Sharief Niaz and Mohammad Ashraf participated in the discussion on demands for Grants.

Most of the members called for making adequate stocking of ration and other essentials in hilly and far-off areas of the State particularly for winter months to meet the requirement. The members suggested the Government to take up the matter of enhancement of ration quota as per fresh Census to meet the increased requirement.

They also suggested for strengthening the transport services in hilly, remote and uncovered areas and sought measures to check the frequent road accidents.

All The members who had moved the cut motions withdrew the same after the satisfactory reply from the Minister.