Police and local administration, specially in states of Punjab and Haryana from where surplus food grains have to be moved to other parts of the country, are not allowing FCI officials and workers to function as FCI has not been specifically included in the exemption list of essential services.
“Though ration shops and PDS have been mentioned in the exemption list. But there is no mention of FCI, which is creating trouble for us. Police is not allowing us to work. Our labourers are being harassed and driven back, which can hamper food grain distribution system,” a senior FCI official told ET.
The agency has been mandated to transport food grains as per the requirement of states under National Food Security Act (NFSA), which offers poor people food grains at subsidised rates.
The official said that few states like Uttar Pradesh have specific mention of FCI in exemption list.
“But in Punjab and Haryana, which together have the highest stock, we are facing problems. We have requested the state government to allow the loading and freight movement of FCI,” the official said.
The cabinet, on Wednesday, decided to increase the monthly quota of food grains to 800 million poor families by 2 kg. Now each person will get 7 kg of rice at Rs 3 a kg or wheat at Rs 2 a kg.
“This has further aggravated our pressure. Punjab and Haryana hold stock of wheat and rice both. Unless we are given permission to work freely, we will not be able to supply grains in time,” he said.
Earlier, FCI chairman and managing director DV Prasad held a review meeting with officials and asked them ensure availability of food grains across the country.
The FCI has created a 24×7 war room, which will coordinate with zones to ensure smooth operations. Official will pursue with state government for direct delivery of food grains from foodsheds to cut down the time.
Prasad has asked official to ensure free movement of grains by working closely with states.