Notwithstanding the government's reluctance, the Supreme Court on Friday again asked the Centre to forthwith allocate excess grains to the hungry and BPL families, saying it cannot be allowed to rot in godowns or be eaten by rats.
A bench headed by justices Dalveer Bhandari sought attorney general GE Vahanvati's response on the issue. Vahanvati could not appear before the bench.
Maintaining that as per the latest census BPL population in the country has risen by 7 crore, the court sought to know Vahanvati's views as to why the allocation should not be made in terms of the latest figures instead of the 1991 census.
Hearing of a petition on food security, it told additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran that mere schemes without any implementation were of no use.
"More than nine years ago, this court passed an order that the foodgrains, which are over-flowing in the storage, especially of the FCI godowns and which are in abundance, should not be wasted by dumping into the sea or eaten by rats.
"Mere schemes without any implementation are of no use. What is important is the food must reach the hungry," the bench said, posting the matter for hearing after Diwali vacations.
(Tracking Hunger is an HT initiative to investigate and report the struggle to rid India of hunger. You can read previous stories at www.hindustantimes.com/trackinghunger )