HTS bills huge burden for state
DIMAPUR, OCTOBER 14
Non-clearance of Hill Transport Subsidy (HTS) bills has become a big problem as the state government can no longer bear the transportation costs of FCI goods to the far flung areas of the state. This was echoed at the State Level Consultative Committee (SLCC) meeting of the state here at Hotel Saramati on Wednesday. It was also highlighted during the meeting that under HTS, since 1997, bills amounting to Rs 12 crores are yet to be cleared by the Central government. While presenting the analytical review of shortage and transit losses, it was highlighted that transit loss is a matter of great concern for the state as it usually incurs 0.50% to 0.80%.
The FCI which was set up under the Food Corporation Ac of 1964 fulfills the effective price support operations, distributions of food grains and maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks.
The FCI, Nagaland region comprises of one FCI district office headquartered at Dimapur that caters the needs of 11 revenue districts of Nagaland and Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (Assam).The power point presentation provided by the FCI shows that the Nagaland government lifts the food grains of different schemes from FCI depots which are then further distributed to the beneficiaries by the state government through Fair Price Shops (FPS).
Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, Member of Parliament Neiphiu Rio said the primary duty of a welfare state is to provide quality and sufficient food to its citizens as ‘humans cannot survive without food.’ Attending his first consultative meeting as the chairman of Food Corporation of India (FCI) for Nagaland state, Neiphiu Rio said the non operational of Hill Transport Subsidy (HTS) and the subsequent non-clearance of bills have become a major hindrance.
Rio then said with the help of the farmers the state is benefited but at the same time ‘fair price shops’ should be examined finely that will benefit both the parties. He said the use of ‘rate protection’ should be practiced in the state in order to have a balanced rating system. Rio also said that ‘too much in one side and too less in the other side’ should not be practiced but there should be a balance between the farmers and the buyers benefiting both.
Speaking on the supply and demand of rice in the state, the Lok Sabha MP said that Nagaland today has sufficient food grains as the rice in the state are cheaper than Assam that proves the state has surplus of food grains.
He also said manipulation of bio-metric cards as practiced in the past should not be continued.
Neiphiu Rio while highlighting the various FCI scandals in other parts of the country, said that Nagaland so far have not come across such problems except for some minor issues which always have ‘rooms for improvement’.
He said the problems faced by FCI Nagaland should be shared to find solution.
Meanwhile, various agendas for discussions were also brought upon by the SLCC members in order to have a proper streamline and judicious distribution of the food grains to consumers.
Highlights of the agendas includes restriction of the DCs of concerned districts on issuing of Utilization certificates of food grains, opening of separate godowns at Dimapur district for natural calamities inorder to meet the emergency requirements during calamities like affected by fire, floods, storms, earthquakes, etc. and checking of consignment of food grains that reaches to other parts of the state.