Resentment brews among J&K consumers as Govt raises rates of CAPD ration by 60%

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Nov 29: While the Food Corporation of India (FCI)  is providing  food grains to Jammu and Kashmir on old rates,  the State Government has suddenly increased the rates of ‘Atta’  by 62 % and rice by  50 %  without making any public announcement.
With the sudden  and sharp increase in the prices of  CAPD `Atta’ and  rice by Rs 5 per kilogram in the State, a strong resentment  is brewing among the general consumers in the State against the PDP-BJP coalition Government.
Surprisingly, the Department of  Food, Civil Supplies  and Consumer Affairs increased the prices of  Atta by  62 %  and rice by 50 % but no public notice was ever issued in media to create awareness among the general consumers of the State regarding proposed hike by the Government.  Even at the official  website of the department  there is no hike in rates uploaded or any such information available. Even the old rates have been displayed till today.
The insiders in the CAPD department disclosed that  no such proposal in the State Cabinet has been discussed or any decision taken with regard to the price hike of CAPD ration, neither the Govt of India has issued such hike at the national level.
While most of the officials of the CAPD department are tight lipped over the matter and some are  unable to explain the reason, a few of them claimed that the rates of ration being given under Mufti Mohd Sayeed Scheme (MMS) in the State have been increased from existing Rs 7.80  to Rs 13 per kg  and that of rice from Rs 10 per kg to Rs 15 per kg now. It clearly indicated that  hapless consumers of the State have been made to shell out extra money to purchase ration from Govt depots and `fair price’ shops under the new PDP led Govt’s  popular  “Mufti Mohd Scheme”.
The ration dealers on the other hand are claiming  that concerned TSOs are issuing entire ration whether under NFS Scheme or Mufti Mohd Scheme at the same hiked price. They maintained that for the quota of October 2016 month, they had deposited money with the concerned  offices at the old rates but they were not allowed to lift ration from CAPD stores by the officers till they deposited the additional amount at the rate of  Rs 13 per kg for Atta and Rs 15 per kg for rice.
The concerned CAPD officers have also indicated that the rate of levy sugar is also going to be   hiked from existing  Rs 13.50 per kg to Rs 25 per kg shortly. This sharp hike in the prices of ration is going to break the backbone of the common man, inviting strong public protests and agitation across the State.
The general secretary of  Ration Dealers Association of Jammu Sanjay Abrol when contacted claimed that such an unprecedented hike in ration has not been witnessed in last more than 16 years in the State. He said after the concerned Assistant Directors and TSOs asked  dealers to deposit additional amount in October, the Association members met Director CAPD Jammu G S Chib and even the Minister concerned Ch Zulfkar but they only claimed that rates have been increased from October onwards.
The concerned officers  failed to convince or give any justified reason to the delegation. After this  hike, the verbal clashes with the consumers have increased at the depots. They ask to show any Govt notification  in this regard but they do not have any such document or any such proof with them.  He said that even the Public representatives from Jammu mostly are silent  over the issue. The public in general is full of anger against the present dispensation.
Deputy General Manager, Regional Headquarters  Food Corporation of India, Jammu, Pardeep Kumar Behura when contacted told the Excelsior that FCI is still giving food grains (rice and wheat) to the J&K State on the old rate.
“We have not increased any rates of good grains for J&K State. Even throughout the country, the FCI is providing the food stuff at the same price.  There are no such instructions from the Minister of Food Supplies Govt of India with regard to any hike so far.  If any such instructions would come from the Union Ministry, the FCI would follow with letter and spirit. Only J&K Govt can well explain why the rates of ration have been increased for the public in the State, “Behura maintained.
Commissioner/ Secretary CAPD, Shafiq Ahmed Raina when contacted said that this hike was proposed to be affected from July  this year after the matter was taken up in the State Cabinet. Even after the implementation of NFSA in the State, for the next three months, July August and September the ration was provided to the consumers on the old rates.
For providing additional ration to the public under MMS, the rates were revised.  For the non-priority rationees category, the rates were increased.  He claimed that matter was discussed in the Cabinet during June this year and then department took the decision in this regard. However, there was no much convincing or justified reason with any officer of the department for effecting this unprecedented hike in the rates of food grains for the consumers in  J&K.


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