Legislative Assembly was today rocked by opposition members alleging malpractice in the opening of new ration depots as they pressed for taking into confidence concerned legislators in the allotting of new fair price shops.
The government has opened 1085 new fair price shops during the past two years across the state, out of the sanctioned 4388 ration depots.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah too expressed his concern over the issue and said the present allotments should be cancelled to allow a full review of the policy.
“Our demand is that the fair price shops which were given on first come first serve basis should be cancelled to allow review of the policy to ensure transparency so that deserving people get their rights,” the Omar Abdullah said.
The ruckus started at the beginning of the zero hour when opposition members raised the issue and the noisy scenes continued for over half-an-hour with ruling PDP MLA Javaid Beig and National Conference’s Mian Altaf exchanging heated words.
Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) minister Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali tried to pacify the protesting members and even assured that he would issue a circular to ensure that MLAs would be taken on board in allotment of the left out ration depots.
However, he denied any malpractice in the allotment of new ration depots on first come first served basis policy.
“I am ready for a debate but the depots allotted cannot be cancelled as the due procedure was followed,” he said.
The opposition members, some of whom even trooped into the well of the house, relented only after Parliamentary Affairs minister Abdul Rehman Veeri intervened, reiterating the assurance given by concerned minister to the house.
“It is a simple issue that the members should be consulted in distribution of fair price shops. The concerned minister has assured the house and cannot give it in writing right away.
“Out of over 4000 sanctioned locations, over 1000 have been allotted and there are still over 3000 more pending. We will address the grievance of the MLAs,” Veeri said.
He added that the government has taken note of National Conference leader Omar Abdullah’s complaint and will look into it.
Earlier, Omar, who said this was not only his issue or the issue of his Beerwah constituency, argued that the members are concerned as they were caught unaware about the allotment of the ration depots and also because the minister tried to justify the first come first serve policy.
Also, though he admitted that it is for the government’s to decide whether it wants to take on board the concerned MLAs in the allotment of the new ration depots or not, he said ensuring that the fair price shops are given in a transparent manner is must.