New Delhi, Jun 27: Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday acceded to the request of Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to hold a joint meeting with the Union Finance Minister to resolve the Rs 31,000 crore food account loan legacy issue.
Mr Paswan agreed to organise the meeting after the Budget session, an official spokesperson said after Capt Amarinder called on the Minister here this afternoon.
The Union Minister has also agreed to allow Punjab to create additional storage space to enable the state to address the problem of acute shortage of storage space in this Rabi season. Modalities for the same will soon be worked out, the spokesperson said.
Capt Amarinder also succeeded in securing relaxation in lustre loss in wheat, resulting from the unseasonal heavy rains that lashed the state during the season.
During his meeting, the Chief Minister pointed out the Rs 31,000 crore food loan legacy issue, inherited from the previous government, had already been referred to a special committee headed by NITI Aayog Member Ramesh Chand, who is also the Member of 15th Finance Commission. The Committee had been mandated to look into all aspects of the Legacy Debt of Punjab government arising out of accumulated CCL (Food Credit Gap) with reference to Food Corporation of India/Department of Food and Public Distribution. The Chief Minister sought Paswan’s personal intervention to expedite the matter.
With regard to lustre loss, Capt Amarinder informed the Union Food Minister that central government had only allowed relaxation in for nine districts with effect from May 8, by when bulk of the purchase had been completed in the state. The state had sought relaxation, through a letter to Union Government on April 26, for the entire quantity of wheat purchased during the season across the state, and should be given relaxation from April 26, when it first sought FCI inspection.
Expressing concern over slow movement of stocks, the Chief Minister told Paswan that the state government was grappling with acute shortage of storage space for foodgrain. He mentioned that state agencies were currently stocking 160 lakh MT of wheat and 107 lakh MT of rice, while 96 lakh MT of wheat was lying in the open, while 10.5 lakh MT of wheat purchased more than a year ago was still being stocked in the open. As a result of slow movement of food grains from the state, the state would face a major challenge for scientific storage of wheat next year, he added. (UNI)