Govt will accept Supreme Court directives on rotten foodgrains issue: Pawar

      Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the Government will accept the directives of the Supreme Court on the issue of rotten foodgrains. Pawar, however, noted that the copy of the apex court's order was yet to reach him. "I have not received the final order of the Supreme Court as yet. But I would like to tell this in the house that the government would completely respect the orders given by court whether it is from the High Court or Supreme Court," said Pawar replying to the debate on the issue inside the Parliament. "Apart from this, the suggestions given by the member of the Lok Sabha would be considered by the government and soon they will take possible steps over it," he added. Meanwhile, former cricketer and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Navjot Singh Siddhu termed the government's proposed Food Security Bill as foolhardy. He cited that thousands of farmers who had been catering to the needs of the country's granaries were in the lurch and the government was least worried about their fate. "To know what is right but still not considering it is a symbol of cowardly act and it is a matter of the Punjab, which supplies the food grains to the 60 percent areas of the country from the source of its just two percent area of land," said Siddhu. "Today in this granary of the country, the farmers who cater to the entire nation are dying due to lack of food but the government is not considering their problems and it talks of food security which is ridiculous," he added. Earlier today, the Supreme Court asserted that it had ordered free distribution of food grains to the poor instead of allowing them to rot in godowns, and added that it was not a suggestion as made out by Sharad Pawar. "It was not a suggestion. It is there in our order. You tell the Minister," the court told the government counsel. Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma clarified that they had passed an order, not an observation as was being made out in newspaper reports quoting Pawar. Pawar had earlier said, "The Supreme Court's suggestion (for free distribution) is not possible to implement." The apex court in an order directed the Union government to conduct a fresh survey of the BPL/ABPL/AAY beneficiaries on the basis of the figures available for 2010 and said the authorities cannot rely on a decade-old data to extend the benefits. The government must take urgent steps to prevent further rotting of food grains while maintaining that it must procure only that much quantity, which it can preserve, the two-judge bench said. The bench reiterated its earlier order that persons above the poverty line shall not be entitled to subsidised food grains, but if the government was determined to extend the benefit, the same shall be given to those families whose annual income is below Rs three lakhs.

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