J&K government to install GPS system on trucks transporting food grains
As Jammu and Kashmir State is battling pilferage in ration distribution, the government has decided to install the Global Positioning System (GPS) on trucks transporting food grains to different regions of the state to stop the pilferage. According to the officials from July 10 only GPS fitted trucks would transport food grains for distribution.
How will this system help Jammu and Kashmir?
The state imports 1-lakh metric ton food grains every month and each day 800 trucks are being used to distribute the ration across the state. “The GPS system will help us to track the trucks. We will be monitoring the trucks so that the pilferage could be brought to zero-level”, Choudhary Zulfikar Ali, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution said. The department apart from food grains also distributes kerosene oil.
Though the Minister says he has not come across any complaint of pilferage of food grain distribution since he took over this April, the officials of the department concede that it is serious issue confronting the department.
The officials say the department is not going to install the GPS on the trucks which import the food grains and kerosene oil to the state from Gurdaspur. However, they say, once the trucks would leave the FCI godown in any district it will have GPS installed on it.
The real loophole ignored?
Former Minister and senior Congress leader Taj Mohideen said all pilferage takes place at the godown and once the truck leaves the godown there was least chance of pilferage as it has unload food grains at the ration depot. “Your all pilferage takes place at the godowns and you are not looking at it”, Mohideen said.
The Bad and Good measures taken by the government
The government is already facing criticism against implementing the National Food Security Act (NFSA). The NFSA has been implemented in the state from March 1 after concurrence for its implantation was give by previous Mufti Mohammad Sayeed led PDP-BJP coalition government. Under the new law, 29 lakh ration card holders and 1.25 crore individuals will get benefit of getting ration at the highly subsidized rate.
In stark contrast with previous law
However, opponents of the law including opposition National Conference argue that the earlier law was far better than the new Act. Under the previous law 35-kg foodgrain was given to a family at a subsidised rate irrespective of family size. The new law is based on equal system with each member of family getting 7 kg. The price of ration under the previous scheme was Rs 10 per kg while the new subsidised rate was Rs 3 per kg for rice and Rs 2 per kg for flour.