On July 2nd, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved a proposal put forward by the Ministry of Food to export two million tons of wheat from its buffer stock. Mazdoor Ekta Lehar condemns this most blatant anti-people decision of the government of India.
Following a record harvest of wheat in the previous season, there were huge stocks of wheat in the government’s hands - a stock of more than 82 million metric tonnes of food grain, but a limited storage capacity of only 64 million metric tonnes. Consequently, lakhs of quintals of wheat have been left rotting in the open in Punjab and Haryana. After allowing the wheat to rot for a few months, the government has now decided to export about 2 million tonnes.
Mazdoor Ekta Lehar condemns the callousness of the government. On the one hand, millions of our people are starving, and on the other, stocks of grain are being exported. We demand an answer to this question – why has the government not done its duty of enabling these wheat stocks to be moved to different stakes for further distribution to the people? The justification given is the “unwillingness” of the states to pick up the stocks of wheat with the Centre!
The fact is that the entire Public Distribution System has been destroyed. The government has deliberately, as part of a plan, not invested in building storage capacities, so as to open the road further to privatization of wholesale and retail trade of all commodities, including food grains.
The immediate demand of the people is that this decision of the government to export should be reversed, and the states should immediately distribute the grains to the neediest sections of the people. Further, the State must establish a Universal Public Distribution System that will distribute all the essential items for life, at affordable prices, to the working population.