Mufti Hesitates On Food Security Act
Protests against Food Security Act in Srinagar (Photo: Basit Zargar)
SRINAGAR: Amid growing concerns of the opposition and the Hurriyat over the implementation of the National Food Security Act in Jammu and Kashmir, a senior state minister said the government will review the law before implementing it in the state.
"Laws are not the word of God or some Holy Book which can't be amended. We are welcome to suggestions to make the NFSA people friendly. We will not allow any shortage of ration in Jammu and Kashmir," Chaudhary Zulfkar Ali, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution minister in the PDP-BJP coalition government, said.
Ali's remarks came amid growing concerns of the opposition National Conference, which claims to have opposed the implementation of NFSA in the state in the previous dispensation, and the Hurriyat which has accused the government of depriving genuine beneficiaries of subsidised ration, evoking protests in many parts of summer capital Srinagar since the law was cleared by the cabinet on December 3.
According to the J&K government’s estimates, around 17 lakh persons would be deprived of the subsidy once the law comes into the force. In Srinagar alone, 2.31 lakh souls would be deprived of subsidized ration and most of the families eligible to receive ration at subsidized rates would get less than 25 kilograms of food grains against the existing 35 kilogram per-family per-month.
J&K chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who chaired a meeting of his party ministers, legislators and other functionaries here yesterday, said the government is open to suggestions from all quarters to improve the law.
"We are open to suggestions from all parties as well as the Hurriyat who have voiced their concern over the implementation of the law. The criticism of the government is a sign of a healthy democracy and we must ask all stakeholders to come forward with their suggestions to make the law more people-friendly,” he told the meeting.
Describing the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan as a “gigantic step forward", Mufti said a long-term “strategic partnership” between the two neighbouring countries will lead to peace and tranquility in the region.
Welcoming the Comprehensive Bilateral Dialogue between India and Pakistan, the PDP patron said both the countries should carry forward the process of reconciliation. “There is a paradigm shift in New Delhi’s policy towards Islamabad. Now that both the countries have shown great maturity to re-engage, it has generated hope and expectation among the people of Jammu & Kashmir, who have for long yearned for peace and stability in the region,” he said.