Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday said that it was not possible to implement the Supreme Court order that had asked the Central government to distribute the foodgrain for free to the poorest instead of allowing it to rot due to lack of storage facility.
"The food grains are rotting. You can look after your own people. As a part of short-term measure, distribute it to the hungry for free," a bench, headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari, had told Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran on Aug 13, reminding the Centre of its responsibility to ensure food security.
As much as 17.8 million tonnes of food grain, enough to feed 140 million people for a month, is being wasted because of shortage of storage facilities.
A highly placed source in the agriculture ministry had at that time told HT, requesting anonymity, "We are in urgent need of urgent and massive structural reform. Implementing this order is going to be very difficult."
The court had given this order while hearing a PIL filed by the People Union for Civil Liberties which had extensively quoted 'Hindustan Times' reports in court to urge the government to act.
The court suggested the government should increase the quantity of food supply to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) cardholders and also open the fair price shops for all the 30 days in a month.
The court had also directed the government to construct at least one large Food Corporation of India godown in every State and consider the possibility of having a godown in every division if not in every district of the State.