August 3, 2010

rotting foodgrains and a hungry nation

Rotting of foodgrains should make no big news. But when the foodgrains rot after the government has bought them for distribution among the poor, and when foodgrains rot in mounds, and when foodgrains rot because of rot in the system and callousness, it becomes an unpardonable crime. But whom are you going to punish?

The Prime Minister? He is the head of the government that is responsible for such a rot, but he is above reproach. How is he supposed to be responsible for rotting of a million tonnes of foodgrains while about a third of the country's population sleeps hungry? No, you are throwing stones at a wrong glasshouse.

The Agriculture Minister? Ha ha!! You are joking. The Minister is the highest political leader responsible for food management for the entire country. So what? He has given directions, he is monitoring the things, he has suspended a few lower level officials, he will take further action. In the meanwhile, he is hopeful that with the investment and schemes he has approved, there will be enough storage within a couple of years and the corruption in the Food Corporation of India will be gone.

The bureaucratic heads? Na, na. They are the best, having been selected into the Indian Administrative Service. If there is something good happening, it is because of them. You think, what would have happened to agricultural production and stored foodgrains if they were not there? Thank them for their devotion to duty, sincerity, honesty and intelligence.

Then who is left there to take the blame? No one, sir [or madam]. Even if the opposition parties prove that A, B, C of the ruling circus are to blame, who will punish them?

It is not that the government was caught napping. Everybody in the concerned government department must have known even a year before that there would be problem of storage if corrective actions are not taken in time. But they chose to ignore, for shameful reasons.

Even the Supreme Court pulled up the government and called such waste of foodgrains a crime, but how does it affect the ones responsible? In the meantime, the blame game has started between State and Central government about who has the responsibility to store the grain safely.

The grain will continue rotting and on the other side of the storage bins, there will be debates in parliament, reports on TV and print media, editorials, discussions on channels, a few protest marches in some cities, even a general strike. Prices will keep rising, grain will be out of reach of the poorest lot, pockets of politicians, bureaucrats and contractors / traders will continue to fatten.

1 comment:

  1. Sharad Pawar must resign. Somebody who has farmers' interest and consumers' interest in mind should hold his portfolio. Manmohan Singh should unburden him.