Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Centre for the immediate release of pending food subsidy bills amounting to Rs 3654.41 crore.
In a letter to the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, Patnaik apprised him about the delay in the release of food subsidy by the Department of Food & Public Distribution (DFPD).
“It is a matter of concern that the subsidy bills amounting to Rs.3654.41 crore (which includes the advance subsidy bills up to March 2019) relating to Odisha are pending with DFPD. Such a huge pendency is causing a shortage of funds at OSCSC, which may become a major roadblock for ensuring timely payment to the farmers,” the Odisha CM said, in the letter.
The letter further mentioned that Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporations Ltd. (OSCSC) has been undertaking procurement of paddy on behalf of the State Government. The funds for the entire procurement operations are borrowed by OSCSC from banks. Due to an effective and transparent system put in place by Odisha Government, namely, Paddy Procurement Automation System (P-PAS), the quantum of paddy procurement has grown manifold and the cost of paddy is being directly transferred to the accounts of farmers. Last year, about Rs.7600 crore was transferred to the accounts of farmers.
“This year, we have already procured more than 40,00,000 MT of paddy and more than Rs.6000 crore has already been transferred to the accounts of farmers. Due to the procurement of such huge quantity, the OSCSC is almost on the verge of reaching its cash credit limit. In order to ensure that adequate funds are available with OSCSC for payment to the farmers, it is necessary that the food subsidy is regularly released by DFPD to the Government of Odisha,” Patnaik further stated.
The Odisha Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to take the matter into consideration and direct the authorities concerned for the immediate release of the pending food subsidy money for protecting the interest of the farmers.