Amid a row over National Food Security Act (NFSA), PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti today accused the former National Conference government of doing nothing about the new law when it came into force and leaving it for the successive Mufti Sayeed regime to deal with it.
She said the Omar Abdullah government neither informed the central UPA government about the difficulty in implementing the Act nor came out with any strategy to deal with the situation as they feared backlash during the ensuing elections to Parliament and state Assembly.
“Today there is a lot of noise about NFSA. We are not in the habit of speaking lies, neither my father (lied) nor do we. This Food Security Bill was introduced in 2013 (when National Conference was in power in the state and the UPA in the Centre).
“It was not whether you are going to implement it or not …it was made essential for every state and the state government (of NC) at that time gave its consent but did not implement it,” she said addressing party workers in Kupwara.
Mehbooba was responding to criticism by National Conference criticism which blamed the previous PDP-BJP government for implementation of the Act in the state which has led to a row with people saying the foodgrain entitlements under it are insufficient.
There were protests in some parts of Kashmir yesterday over the law under which each family member will get 5 kilos of rice per month instead of 11 kilos under the earlier scheme in the state.
“I am speaking the truth. After the parliamentary election, the state faced with devastating floods and the state elections were also round the corner. They (then NC government) thought if the Act will be implemented, the people will get annoyed,” she said.
She said when it came to the notice of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, he thought that if the Act was not implemented, they (Centre) would stop the supply of ration to the state.
“We would have been left with no option but to buy costly rice from the open market and then sell it to the consumers.
So we chalked out a plan and asked the Centre for supply of ration as per 2011 census instead of 2002 census. There are some mistakes in the census and we need to correct those mistakes,” Mehbooba said.
“A family, irrespective of its members – whether two, five or 10 – were getting 35 kgs of ration as per the old scheme. But after the implementation of the NFSA, a family comprising 10 members will get 50 kgs rice,” she said adding but those who have only two members in the family, the five kgs ration would not be enough.
“So we decided to announce a Chief Minister’s scheme, wherein we will provide 11 kgs ration to each member of a family – five kg ration at the rate of Rs 3 under NFSA while the rest in accordance with the previous scheme at the rate of Rs 10 so that no body will be forced to starve,” she said.
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