PRADEEP KUMAR PRADHAN Vs. UNION OF INDIA
HIGH COURT OF ORISSA
PRADEEP KUMAR PRADHAN
UNION OF INDIA
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MOHAMMAD RAFIQ,B. R. SARANGI,JJ. -
(1.) Challenging unilateral decision of merger of Bhubaneswar Regional Office of the Central Warehousing Corporation with that of Patna Regional Office w.e.f. 15.08.2019, as per office order dated 26.07.2019 at Annexure-1, the petitioner has filed this writ petition in the nature of public interest litigation invoking extraordinary jurisdiction of this Court to quash such decision and allow the Bhubaneswar Regional Office of Central Warehousing Corporation to continue as before.
(2.) The factual matrix of the case, in hand, is that the Central Warehousing Corporation was established on 02.03.1957 under the Agricultural Produce (Development and Warehousing) Corporation Act, 1956 and commenced its operation since July, 1957. The old Act was repealed and replaced by Warehousing Corporation Act, 1962. The main object of the Corporation is to provide scientific storage facilities for agricultural inputs and other notified commodities, besides providing logistic infrastructure. The Central Warehousing Corporation is an ISO certified Schedule-A Mini Ratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprises and Corporation of the Central Government.
2.1. The regional offices of the corporation are situated in different parts of India on the basis of overall logistic operations, performance, business purposes etc. The Bhubaneswar Regional Office is one among the 13 regional offices of the country, which was established during the year 1990. Since its inception, it continued to serve not only the people of Odisha, but also people of neighboring States, i.e., part of Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Jharkhand etc. As many as 21 Warehouse Centres are there in 15 districts of Odisha under the control of Central Warehousing Corporation Regional Office, Bhubaneswar. The operational capacity of the Odisha region is about 3.48 Lakh M.T. which is ordinarily done through the Warehouse Centres. The Food Corporation of India and the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. are major depositors of Central Warehousing Corporation Bhubaneswar region, apart from many other small and medium depositors around the State.
2.2. In order to enhance the storage capacity of food grains and other notified commodities in future days, the State Government has provided lands at various places for construction of new godowns, wherein either construction is partly made and some lands are still lying vacant awaiting funds. The efforts and endeavour of the State Government to increase the potentiality of Central Warehousing Corporation Regional Office, Bhubaneswar is quite satisfactory and remarkable. Thereby, the Bhubaneswar Regional Office of Central Warehousing Corporation is fulfilling the need of storage of paddy and food grains etc. at large scale and constantly earning profit since 2014-15 to 2018-19. The objectives of Warehousing and distribution is store inventory, creation of time utility, efficient accessibility increasing turnover, better produce process, to decrease shrinkage and optional safety. Besides, importance of warehouse is to provide good customer service. At this point of time, by virtue of the order issued by the Central Government dated 26.07.2019, the Bhubaneswar Regional Office of Central Warehousing Corporation was unilaterally decided to be merged with Patna Regional Office w.e.f. 15.08.2019. The petitioner describing himself as the State Convenor, Right to Food Campaign, R.T.I. activist and a member of Advisor Body of National Human Rights Commission on right to food, has filed this writ petition seeking to quash such order dated 26.07.2019 issued by the Central Government with regard to merger of Bhubaneswar Regional Office of Central Warehousing Corporation with that of Patna Regional Office.
(3.) Mr. J. Patnaik, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner strenuously urged that the unilateral decision taken with regard to merger of Bhubaneswar Warehousing Corporation with that of Patna Warehousing Corporation is an outcome of non-application of mind. Though the petitioner moved the Managing Director, Central Warehousing Corporation, opposite party no.2 by way of filing a representation on 08.08.2019, with a copy to the Secretary, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi, requesting to review the said decision or to cancel the office order dated 26.07.2019, but no action has been taken as yet. It is further contended that such unilateral action of the opposite parties is detrimental to the interest of the people of the State. It is further contended that on the basis of the knowledge gathered from the article published on 06.08.2019 in the Odia daily newspaper "Prameya", the petitioner has approached this Court by way of filing this writ petition ventilating the hardship of the people of the State.;
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