PANAJI: People in the state may be nursing a notion that black-marketing of PDS goods is prevalent only in Goa. But the chairman of Central Vigilance Committee on Public Distribution System and former judge of Supreme Court, Mr Justice Devendra Pratap Wadhwa proves it wrong.
Mr Wadhwa, who is in the state, in an interview with Shaikh Jamaluddin, revealed that of the 22-23 states he visited, the scenario isn’t much different.
Excerpts: Q: What is your assessment on working of PDS in other states from inputs of officials of Civil Supplies department, secretaries, directors, fair price shop owners and consumers?
A: This very same question was posed by the Governor of Orissa to which I said that black-marketing is prevalent throughout India.
Q: Will you accept fair price shop owners’ demand of increasing the commission from present 0.51 paise per kg to ` 2 per kg?
A: Already, the central government bears a burden of Rs 70,000 crore simply on subsidies given to fair price shops and if the government increases the subsidy then who will bear the burden? The government will have to collect from general public. That is why I have asked fair price shop owners as to how many cards will make their business viable. This business is not meant for unemployed youth and it is not viable for solitary shop owners due to less profits. I suggest only grocery shop owners should be encouraged to run fair price shops.
Q: What about the complaint on sub-standard grains or rat droppings found in the commodities?
A: Food Corporation of India supplies good rice, wheat and other grains to the states but adulteration occurs during transportation from FCI godowns to state godowns. In order to halt this there should be some kind of supervision either from FCI or at state level.
Q: Would you like to survey the APL and BPL and AAY or Anna Purna cardholders afresh?
A: Our country has more than sufficient food grains to feed the countrymen. The Centre spends ` 70,000 crore on subsidy alone so that nobody should die of hunger. If a single person gets 35 kg of foodgrains then it should be decreased. It is unusual that a single person is getting 35 kgs of grains and he/she may be selling it at a higher price.
Q: Goa is a developing state and a global tourism centre. There are migrants who flock to this state for jobs. How will you solve their problem of getting ration cards, kerosene quota and other needs?
A: Necessary PDS quota should be allotted to them.
Q: What is your role and mission as the chairman of Central Vigilance Committee on Public Distribution System and how will you act upon all these?
A: My job is to visit offices, check the records, receive complaints from stakeholders including fair price shop owners, consumers, study the matter, analyse it and then present a report to the Supreme Court.