Srinagar: The opposition to implementing National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Jammu and Kashmir is growing with mainstream and separatists lashing out at PDP-BJP government for the decision alleging that it will deprive a large population of subsidized foodgrains.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah hit out at the PDP-BJP coalition accusing it of robbing people of the right to bare minimum ration requirement.
Hardline Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani said the reservations of the public in this regard cannot be taken as meaningless.
Omar said despite pressure from ally Congress, he had not implemented the Act when he was the Chief Minister.
“The PDP-BJP Government is robbing people of the right to bare minimum ration requirement by irresponsibly implementing the act in the state.
“I did not allow the implementation of NFSA in the state despite recurring pressure from our then alliance partner, the Congress Party, because I knew the Act was against the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I said I won’t allow the implementation of this Act in J-K until I was convinced it would benefit my people,” Omar said addressing a workers convention at Shangus in South Kashmirs Anantnag district yesterday.
Omar, the National Conference (NC) working president, claimed spontaneous protests have become a regular feature ever since Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over as the Chief Minister.
“When Mufti Sahab took over as the Chief Minister after his sell-out to the BJP, he patted himself on the back about the implementation of the NFSA and his Ministers even went to the extent of saying that this was the biggest miracle of the PDP-BJP Government.
“Today people are out on the roads in every nook and corner of the state and now Mufti Sahab’s Minister says that this was a decision taken by the previous government which is a brazen lie,” he said.
The former chief minister said the government should decide if they want to lie and shift blame or they want to pat themselves on the back about this Act.
The state of chaos and confusion in the state government is unprecedented, Omar said. Meanwhile, hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference said whatever the reasons and purpose of the implementation of the Act in the state, the reservations of the public in this regard cannot be taken as meaningless and secondary.
Until these reservations are not clarified or removed, the public reaction against this act is genuine, a spokesman of the Hurriyat said, alleging it was part of a plan “to cripple” the Kashmiri people.
The spokesman criticized the PDP, saying the party had failed to fulfill its poll promises to the people. “Now the same people are harassed and tricked on every necessity of life,” he alleged.
The state government is preparing to implement the NFSA in the state from February 1 next year. According to the government, while under the existing dispensation only 18.02 lakh families comprising a population of 99 lakh are covered under the Public Distribution System (PDS) in Jammu and Kashmir, the implementation of NFSA will cover 22.73 lakh families comprising a population of 119.13 lakh.
While 13.73 lakh families would get highly subsidised rations — atta at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg, another 7.85 lakh families would get atta at Rs 8 per kg and rice at Rs 10 per kg.
Every family member in these categories would be entitled to get 5 kgs ration per head, except 2.56 lakh families in the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) category who would continue to get 35 kgs ration per family, irrespective the number of family members.