Ramesh, Deb lock horns over TPDS allocations

Bhubaneswar: A war of words virtually escalated on Wednesday between Union Minster Jairam Ramesh and Odisha food supplies and consumer welfare minister Pratap Keshari Deb over the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) allocations to the State.
Deb, in a letter to Ramesh stated that the present allocation of food grains under TPDS to Odisha, taking into consideration BPL, KBK APL, AAY and APL schemes is 21.89 Lakh MT per annum. But the Centre has mentioned the amount as 20.77 Lakh MT, which is the offtake average of last three years.
“Thus the proposed allocation (to Odisha) under Centre's National Food Security Ordinance (NFSO), 2013 at 21.09 Lakh MT per annum is less than the present allocation of 21.89 Lakh MT and it indicates that Odisha will be a net loser in the new regime of NFSO 2013,” clarified Deb.
The minister further substantiating his claims noted that the Centre has been allocating 38,431 MT of wheat every month for the APL ration card holders in the State. Since the demand of wheat among these families in rural belt is negligible, the wheat offtake is less than 80% which is pulling down the overall off take of food grains of the State, he said.
The duel between the two ensued after the Union minister recently said Odisha’s offtake of food grains has been 92.4, 97.1 and 96.6% respectively in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
"The average annual offtake is under normal TPDS which consists of BPL, APL and AAY, as you (Deb) are aware, is based on norms and is not an adhoc allocation,” he had said.
Deb, on the other hand, had promptly countered that Ramesh was trying to mislead the people of Odisha while highlighting and propagating the Centre’s Food Security Bill-2013.
"He is completely wrong. I will reply to his letter in the Assembly," Deb told reporters.