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“Ensure food security during lockdown”: Karnataka High Court Directs the State Government to Safeguard Commoners

Karnataka  High Court Directs the State Government to Safeguard Commoners

A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Aravind Kumar on Tuesday, May 11, 2021, directed the State government, which has declared a lockdown till May 24, to immediately consider the proposal of distributing 10 Kg of Food Grains for free to PHH Card applicants and 10 Kgs at 15 for NPHH Card applicants i.e., those who had applied but for whom ration cards were yet to be issued.

 

The Court said, "The state government will have to decide on the implementation of the scheme proposed by it. We direct the state government to take immediate decision on the said proposal." In its written submission the state government said "As per the scheme which was implemented during the first lockdown last year, there is a proposal to distribute 10 KG of Food Grains free to PHH Card applicants and 10 Kg's at 15/- for NPHH Card applicants i.e., those who had applied but for whom ration card were yet to be issued. The same has been proposed to be implemented in the current lockdown. It is submitted that once approvals are received the same would be implemented forthwith. This would benefit 3,07,614 families of BPL Card applicants and 1,20,770 families of APL Card applicants."

On the food security issue of the weaker section of the society during the lockdown, the state government added that instructions have been given to all Urban Local Bodies to continue the functioning of Indira canteens following all covid norms and to make provision of breakfast, lunch and dinner free cost, in all urban local bodies, including BBMP.

Advocate Clifton Rozario appearing for one of the petitioners submitted that "In given the current situation, it will be advisable to provide one time ration kits than meals three times a day. The food kit should be sufficient for 21-days." 

The court in its order said, "Today the question is how people can approach Indira Canteens. BBMP counsel says that there are 202 canteens in the city. The Advocate General assures that not only in BBMP limits but all cities with help of NGOs arrangement will be made to ensure that cooked food is supplied."

The court directed the state government to place on record the necessary decision taken in this regard on the next date of hearing. It observed, "As a result of the lockdown, certain categories of people have stopped receiving income, especially those who are depending on daily wages. The object has to be that such people receive food during the lockdown.”

The court also suggested the State government to consider re-starting the helpline which was initiated in the first lockdown last year, through which it could address the issue of failure to receive food by the needy along with implementation of scheme which was adopted last year of providing dry ration kits.

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