New Delhi: Concerned over the unabated starvation deaths in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Union and state governments to ensure that no one dies due to starvation and malnutrition.

Hearing a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberty (PUCL), a division bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Deepak Verma asked the chief secretaries of all the states to specify how much additional foodgrains are required to distribute among poor while adding that it is the responsibility of the government to provide food to the poor.

The Apex Court has given a fortnight’s time to chief secretaries to indicate High Power Committee (HPC) about the number of poor districts and the amount of additional foodgrains required under the public distribution scheme (PDS) to meet the objective.

Pulling the state government for not lifting the 50 lakh tonnes of foodgrain allocated by the Centre, the Supreme Court has asked the state governments to submit an affidavit in this regard.

The counsel of the petitioners argued that the Centre is providing the food grains to states on a higher rate.

The court has also asked the Centre to take steps for making the entire PDS network system computerised so that corruption and pilferage are eliminated. "This has to be done at a great speed. You have to computerise the whole system in order to bring total transparency," the court observed.

JPN/Bureau