Punjab Dispatched 938 Rakes of Wheat & Rice to other states to Feed Poor & Needy during Lockdown-Bharat Bhushan Ashu
On the directives of the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the Food & Civil Supplies Department has worked day and night to dispatch 938 rakes loaded with 23.5 lakh Metric Tonnes of Wheat and rice to various parts of the country to feed the poor & needy in these trying circumstances due to lockdown amid COVID-19.
Living up to its reputation of being the Food Bowl of India, Punjab has been silently assisting all the States in accomplishing this gigantic task while the nation battles the coronavirus and struggles with the herculean challenge of feeding its citizens.
Disclosing this here today, Food & Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said that ever since the lockdown was enforced in the country Punjab has despatched 938 rakes of foodgrains thereby transferring nearly 23.5 lakh Metric tonnes of wheat and rice to different parts of the country through 938 special trains since 26th March.
This unique initiative of Punjab Government would provide much-needed assistance to the States to distribute foodgrains amongst the disadvantaged sections of the society, he added.
Apart from this, Ashu said that the state government provides food grains to approximately 50% of the families in the State (1,41,44,291 beneficiaries) which are covered under PMGKAY (AAY and PHH) in which 15kg wheat per NFSA beneficiary and 3 kg dal per household is being distributed free of cost for three months i.e April -June 2020 and to Non NFSA beneficiaries over 15 lakh packets of dry ration containing 10 kg atta, 2 kg dal and 2 kg sugar have also been distributed free of cost.
The Minister said that in addition to this, the food and civil supplies department has facilitated provision of wheat and rice to NGOs, and religious organizations engaged in supplying cooked food and dry ration to poor in this hour of crisis.
Ashu further said that, to help the migrant population, more than 50000 free 5kg LPG refills are being provided.
Ashu further stated that after the lockdown came into force, in order to ensure smooth supply of LPG Cylinders to residents/ Households in the state,
47,12,522 LPG cylinders had been delivered, out of which 35761 were supplied by IOC, 164970 by HPCL and 283075 by BPCL. Apart from this, more than 8 lakh cylinders also distributed under Ujwala Scheme.
The Minister said to save the people of state from over pricing during the lockdown all the field officers are conducting regular raids at the establishments which are selling essential commodities. He said that the Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer affairs has set up helpline no 0172-2684000 to lodge any grievance regarding overpricing.
Till now Department had received 4 complaints and conducted 892 raids and 7,94,000 penalty imposed on erring shop keepers for over pricing.
Ashu further revealed that apart from playing a vital role in providing food security to the people of the country during this pandemic, the Punjab government has also made proper and elaborate arrangements in Mandis for the smooth procurement of wheat crop. At the same time the instructions issued by the health department are being followed by letter and spirit amid COVID-19.
“We have procured record 6165203 metric tonnes of wheat in 14 days in this ongoing procurement season despite shortage of labour and several other restrictions,” he said.