SHILLONG, Feb 9 – A social organisation in Meghalaya has unearthed that wheat worth crores of rupees under the Targeted Public Distribution System has been allegedly diverted for the past several years.
Under a Right To Information application the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has given information that the State has been receiving wheat from 2008. Every month the State receives its quota of 1,403 metric tonnes of wheat, but none of the fair price shops are distributing it. A kilogram of wheat costs Rs 6.10.
“Where is this wheat going when the FCI has been supplying it to the State under TPDS,” Michael Syiem, who filed the RTI, said at a public hearing today.
Syiem said, he has requested representatives from the Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) department and also FCI officials for the hearing. Although the FCI sent its representatives, none of the State Government officials from FCS&CA turned up.
It has been alleged that the wheat is directly sent to local Chaki mills here and is grinded into Atta, Maida (flour) and other items for sale in the open market. The practice has been on for years now.
FCI officials said that the State Government would be in a better position to answer where the wheat was disappearing over the years.
FCS&CA Public Information Officer, P Ch Sangma claimed in response to RTI queries that wheat was being distributed in those districts of the State where there is demand.
He added, since tribal people’s food habit does not constitute atta in their diet, fair price shops here don’t lift it from FCI and hence the non-availability.
Syiem, moreover, pointed out that quality of rice and sugar in fair price shops was far worse than those lifted from FCI godowns.
“The quality of rice supplied from FCI godowns are of ‘A’ category, however, those sold at fair price shops are not fit for human consumption,” he said showing samples of PDS items supplied by the FCI.
Social organisations today said that similar complaints of poor quality rice, sugar being distributed at Fair Price shops have been reported from various parts of the State.
They said that after further discussion they would decide whether to initiate a criminal case against the State Government.