New Delhi, March 4: The Supreme Court was Monday told by a lawyer that Chhattisgarh has the best fair price shop network, an achievement in the backdrop of allegations of corruption surrounding foodgrain shops for the poor in other states.
Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves told the apex court bench of Justice T.S. Thakur and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla that as per the feedback of mahila mandals, self help groups and cooperatives, the public distribution system (PDS) network in Chhattisgarh was the best in the country.
Gonsalves, who appeared for People’s Union for Civil Liberties, told the court that the Chhattisgarh government, after imparting an year-long training to members of mahila mandals, self help groups and cooperatives, dispensed with the private-run fair price shops and handed these groups the responsibility to support the PDS.
“They have set up a network in which people get what they should rightfully,” Gonsalves told the court.
As senior counsel for PUCL heaped praise on the Chhattisgrah’s PDS system, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati said: “I am told that they have done a good job.”
Describing the network of distribution based on mahila mandals, self help groups and cooperatives as “amorphous”, the court expressed its misgivings whether such a set up would work across the country in other states as well. “These are amorphous,” the court observed.
However, the court said that if everyone agreed that the Chhattisgarh model was the best then it would issue orders (for its replication).
The Chhattisgarh model came in for praise during a hearing on a PUCL petition seeking changes in the existing PDS for the benefit of the below poverty line population.
The court expressed its satisfaction on the steps outlined by the central government in its affidavit for reforming the PDS and the roadmap.
The judges asked Gonsalves to give his views on the steps suggested by the government for revamping the PDS and any other steps he may like to be taken.
The court would next hear the case April 1.