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UP Food Scam: Onus of distributing food grains lies with State Govts.: Pawar

December 7, 2010 - New Delhi

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said the responsibility of distributing foodgrains lay with state governments, adding that it is upto the courts to decide what action is to be taken with regard to the alleged food scam in Uttar Pradesh.

"Our job is to procure food and send to state. It is then upto the state to ensure that it reaches the people. It is now upto the court to decide what action has to be taken in this case. I have heard that the UP Government has said it will take action, which is a positive step," said Pawar.

"The issue (of food scam in Uttar Pradesh) has been raised by the court and I think it will take an appropriate decision," he added.

The scam, which is estimated to be worth at over Rs two lakh crore, saw a huge stock of food grains meant for distribution among the poor in Uttar Pradesh being smuggled outside the state and even the country to Bangladesh, Nepal and other nations.

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court had on December 3 directed the state agencies to refer to the CBI in order to proceed expeditiously with investigation into the multi-crore-foodgrain scam in Uttar Pradesh and conclude the same within six months.

A division bench comprising Justices Devi Prasad Singh and S C Chaurasia passed the order while allowing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Vishwanath Chaturvedi seeking direction for a CBI probe into the scam.

The petitioner drew the attention of the court towards the high degree of corruption prevailing in Uttar Pradesh whereby food grains meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) card holders covered under schemes such as Antyodaya, Jawahar Rozagar Yogana and mid-day meals was smuggled not only outside the state but outside the country.


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