Food Commission gets cabinet nod

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Bhubaneswar: The state cabinet on Monday approved the proposal for formation of Food Commission in Odisha.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi said the cabinet approved the Odisha Food Commission Rules for formation of Food Commission in the state.

“Under the provisions of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, each state has to constitute a State Food Commission on the basis of which the state cabinet approved the Odisha Food Commission Rules. As per the provisions of the Rules, the State Food Commission will be headed by a chairperson in the rank of chief secretary. The commission will have five members in the rank of principal secretary. It will also have a member secretary who will be from the Food Supply and Consumer Welfare department in the rank of joint secretary or deputy secretary,” Padhi said.

He also made it clear that there are no mandatory provisions that the officials will be the members of the Commission. “Anyone can apply,” he added.

He said the state government will receive applications through advertisements in newspapers and government websites. A search committee, headed by the chief secretary, will screen the applicants. The Development Commissioner and secretary, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare, will be the members of the committee. The committee will recommend the applicants to the government which will select them.

The chief secretary said the Commission has to be constituted because under the NFSA, entitlement has become a right. Each person has the right to have 5 kgs of foodgrains per month.

“If a person is not getting his/her entitlement, he has the right to redress his/her grievances to the District Grievance Redressal Officer (DGRO). The PD, DRDA in each district has been designated as the DGRO. If the person is not satisfied with the verdict of the DGRO, he can appeal to the Food Commission,” he pointed out.

He further said that the tenure of the Food Commission will be three years while the members will have the age limit of 65 which is extendable by one year.

Besides, the state cabinet also approved a proposal of the Energy department for inclusion of a provision in the Odisha Electricity Duty Act the amendment of which was approved by the state cabinet in its meeting held in September last year. As per the amendment, if the metre installed by the independent power producers (IPPs) to record their personal consumption, has gone out of order, there will be no provision to charge electricity duty on the concerned IPP.

The chief secretary also informed that the cabinet approved a proposal of the Housing and Urban Development department for construction of 5957 public and community toilets in nine cities—Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Balasore, Bhadrak, Baripada and Sambalpur—having population of over one lakh.

It has been decided the Sulabh International will take up the construction of these toilets. “There will be no tenders for this project. As the government has found the work of Sulabh International satisfactory during the Nabakelabara in Puri where it had constructed 15 toilets within a short time, it has decided to assign the work to the company,” he pointed out.

“The budget for this project would be around Rs 70 crore over a period of three years which would be met by the Swachh Bharat (75%) and the state government (25%),” he informed.

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