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HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Himachal postpones food security scheme launch

Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times  Dharamsala, August 17, 2013
First Published: 18:53 IST(17/8/2013) | Last Updated: 00:40 IST(18/8/2013)

The 36 lakh people of the hill state will have to wait for another few days to get their share of foodgrains at affordable prices as launching of the National Food Security Ordinance (NFSO) in Himachal is likely to be delayed due to the ongoing debate on the bill in Parliament.

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The state government had decided to launch the scheme on August 20 - the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. However, the launch may get postponed to last week even if the discussion on the bill gets over before the scheduled date of launching the scheme as the monsoon session of the state assembly is starting on August 21.

“The launching of NFSO in the state may be delayed for a few days as discussion on the issue is still going on in Parliament,” said food and civil supply minister GS Bali, adding that it won't be appropriate to launch the scheme in a hurry.

Bali said the state government will wait for few more days for the formal launch of the scheme.

“We will be waiting until picture on the issue gets clear in Parliament,” he said. Bali said the debate on the ordinance is likely to be prolonged and after that voting is also to be held on it.

“In between, the monsoon session of Himachal Pradesh legislative assembly is also starting so the launching may get delayed by a few more days,” Bali said.

He claimed that the state food and civil supply department was fully prepared for the launch and guidelines regarding the implementation were already formulated and sent to the government of India.

Bali said 36 lakh population of the state would be covered under the ordinance. “The remaining 32 lakh people belonging to above poverty line (APL) will be covered under the state-sponsored targeted public distribution system.

“We will continue the already existing scheme for APL families and later efforts will be made to bring the entire population of the state under NFSO,” said Bali.

Speaking on the disrupted supply of levy sugar in the state, Bali said the delivery of the sugar had already been started. The company that had been awarded the work and distribution of the same would start shortly.

“High quality sugar is being provided to the people of the state and the pending quota of three months will be distributed simultaneously,” he added.

Bali, who also holds the portfolio of technical education and transport minister, further said there were some practical difficulties in the site earlier selected for setting up Himachal Pradesh Technical University in Hamirpur so the district administration has been directed to identify some alternative land for the purpose.

Coming to the transport department, Bali said he had issued directions to the officials to properly check driving licences of earth movers.


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