Margao: In the absence of a Goa State Food Commission, the state government has before itself many unresolved issues related to fair price shops and the supply of food grains.
A State Food Commission plays the role of a mediator, which helps to resolve issues that crop up between consumers, fair price shop owners and the government. The Commission, which usually monitors the implementation of the National Food Security Act, 2013, is mandatory under Section 16 (1) of the Act.
It has been over a year now since the file pertaining to the constitution of the Goa State Food Commission is stuck in the law department.
Even as many other states have already constituted their respective state food panels, Goa has been slow on the issue with many critics of the government alleging this to be a deliberate attempt to keep complaints at bay.
“The file is pending with the department of law,” confirmed director of civil supplies and consumer affairs department Siddhivinayak Naik.
Sources said the government is reluctant to include a member of the consumers’ co-operative society as one of the members of the Commission as a result of which, the constitution of the panel has been kept on hold.
Rules for the Goa State Food Commission were notified by the state government on September 7, 2019. However, not much progress has been made thereafter with regard to the constitution of the panel. Former director of the civil supplies department Sandhya Kamat had even provided a written assurance to the consumers’ co-operative society in response to the society’s demand for the setting up of the Commission.
As per the National Food Commission, every state shall have its Food Commission. Section 16(1) of the National Food Security Act, 2013, says that every state shall by notification, constitute a state food commission for the purpose of monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Act, while section 15 of the same Act says that state government should also appoint district grievances redressal officer in every district, which also has not been considered by Goa.
According to many fair price shop owners, the state government does not want to constitute this important State Food Commission, as “it wants to dictate terms and does not want to entertain any complaint either from the consumers or the fair price shops owners.”
Some consumers opined that substandard stock of food grains is supplied to the fair price shops on several occasions and in the absence of the State Food Commission, they are left helpless, as there is no body to take up their complaints.