It is in state's interest to ensure easy access to foodgrains at subsidised prices: HC
It is in the state's interest to ensure citizens get subsidized foodgrains easily, the Delhi High Court said as it asked the Delhi government to examine the feasibility of opening fair price shops in localities from where the nearest outlet is 2.5 km away.
Hearing a plea by residents of the Rajiv Ratan Awas Yojana, Phase-2, Baprola, for the opening of a fair price shop (FPS) in the area, Justice Najmi Waziri said it is appropriate that an FPS is opened either in the locality itself or in its immediate vicinity so that the poorest of the poor are served well by the state.
The Delhi government told the court that since there are only 320 ration cardholders in the area, it might not be feasible for an FPS licensee to operate a shop there with a small amount of margin-money of Rs 2 per kilogram of foodgrains as each FPS caters to about 1,000 ration cardholders.
The court noted that under the guidelines issued by the Delhi government for the allotment of FPS outlets, in certain special circumstances such as for areas inhabited by poorer sections of the society, an FPS can be opened for lesser numbers as well.
''In the special facts and circumstances, it is appropriate that the Delhi government open an FPS in the aforesaid place or the immediate vicinity, as indicated hereinabove so that the poorest of the poor are served well by the state. It is in the interest of the state to ensure that citizens do not have to chart their ways through difficult areas simply to get foodgrains at subsidized prices,'' the judge opined in his order passed on October 12.
''Let the GNCTD look into the matter afresh,'' the judge added as he sought a compliance affidavit by November 30.
The residents of the locality moved the court earlier this year, alleging that they were to be provided an FPS in the vicinity of their residential colony, but no such development has taken place in more than two years.
The counsel for the petitioners said more than 800 families residing in the colony seek an FPS and that a portion of the community center in the area has already been earmarked for it.
The court was informed that the residents seeking the opening of an FPS belonged to the economically weaker section and had to walk through deserted stretches and forest areas to fetch rations from an outlet located approximately 2.5 km away.
The morsel of food comes at a palpable cost to the safety and security of such residents, the plea said.
The matter would be heard next on December 8.
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