New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Saturday asked the government to distribute additional five million tonnes of foodgrains to the 150 poorest districts of the country.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma directed the government to allocate additional foodgrains during the summer to the poor and vulnerable sections of the society under the guidance of Justice D P Wadhwa Committee.

The bench said the committee would identify the vulnerable sections in consultation with the Central government and would recommend the allocation of foodgrains to the targeted beneficiaries.

The Apex Court also directed the Chief Secretaries of all states receiving the additional foodgrains to first exhaust their unutilised stock allocated to them and then distribute the additional one.

Earlier on May 10, the bench had expressed concern over the high malnourishment deaths in the country. The Centre had told the bench that 50 lakh additional tonnes of PDS foodgrains would be distributed among below poverty level families by next two weeks.

The bench had also repeated its earlier stance of distributing grains that were overflowing in the godowns at subsidised rates to the BPL and Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.

"We are repeatedly requesting you. Please distribute it. You are procuring (foodgrains) at a huge cost. But the storage capacity will be inadequate to cope with the fresh harvest. That is happening every time when you have bumper crops. Anybody who watches the TV will have the same view,” the bench had said.

 "There are said to be 3,000 malnourishment deaths in the country. It may not be 3000 but even if it is three deaths in a country like ours, it is a matter of grave concern," the bench had said.

(Agencies)