Centre stops wheat quota

It is now officially learnt that the Union Ministry of Consumer  Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has stopped the  supply of CAPD wheat/ atta to over 45 lakh J&K consumers, falling under non-priority house hold category (NPHH/ tide over) from this month. The wheat/atta supplies will remain suspended for four months from this month while the supply of rice to the valley will not be affected by this order. In other words nearly 45 lakh people, almost half the population of the State, will be denied wheat/atta supplies. Incidentally, the staple food of the people of Jammu region is atta while rice is the staple food of the people in the Valley. In Ladakh rice and atta both are consumed. Thus it means that 45 lakh people of Jammu region will be hard hit by this decision of the Union Government. The reason for taking this stringent step is that wheat is in short supply.
We are surprised at quick or hasty decision taken by the Union Ministry of Food Supplies. The State Minister in charge of CAPD has not been taken into confidence before taking a crucial decision and this is the reason why he had to rush to New Delhi to meet with Union Minister and apprise him of the implications of this decision. Agreeing that there is shortage of supply of wheat/atta in the country, the question is why one particular region should be targeted for stopping full supply of wheat/atta. This seems unjust and even unwise. The cut should have been imposed uniformly so that no one region would have to bear the entire brunt.  The Union Ministry should have explored options like cutting the supply by half and not in full. That would have at least made the affected people adjust with the revised policy of the Government. On the ground, it look unjust that the people in one part or region of the State continue to receive full quota of rations, rice or wheat whatever, while the other region of the same State is left starving. The State would get monthly quota of rice for the tide over category to the tune of 22792  tons and other ‘priority  and AAY’ category as 28037.72  ton while  11760.32 ton wheat under BPL/ AAY category  and no wheat under NPHH category.
We are disposed to presume that the Union Ministry for Food Supplies should have also explored other options like supplying maize, jawar and bajra, atta instead of wheat if it was in short supply. That would have not made things too difficult for the people.  At the same time, it is not only Jammu region that will be adversely affected by the order in question, even people in Ladakh will also face hardships.
The State Food Minister will be pleading the case with the Union Minister for Food Supplies. The point to be brought home to the Union Government is that J&K is mostly a hilly state with only one crop in a year provided weather conditions remain conducive. Let us hope that the Minister is able to impress upon New Delhi that this order needs to be revoked or at least modified so that the entire Jammu region is not made to bear the brunt.


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