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May 02, 2011

Massive corruption in PDS: Rice routed to black market

SILCHAR, May 1: A subdivision is known to have been created for decentralization of power for better administration and to ensure benefits of welfare schemes and projects reaching the masses. But, now the very concept of decentralization has changed, providing a sort of leverage to corrupt practices without any check and balance.
Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar is a glaring example of it. The subdivision often hits the headlines for wrong reasons. Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS)of Cachar has detected massive corruption in Public Distribution System (PDS) in the subdivision. The anomalies and irregularities in the PDS, in fact, came to light when around 500 consumers with valid ration cards gheraoed the Sub Divisional Officer (Civil) recently, demanding explanation why rice for the months of March and April was notgiven to them by the fair price shops and sought stringent action against the unscrupulous elements involved in the racket.
Taking the cue, Grahak Suraksha Samiti after making investigation discovered that a powerful syndicate of politicians and bureaucrats was behind the loot of PDS consumer goods although rice was allotted for distribution to legitimate ration card holders for March and April. '80 per cent consumers are being deprived of the PDS benefits,' Biplob Kumar Goswami, general secretary of the Samiti, revealed to The Sentinel.
According to Goswami, under APL, 3,300 quintals, under BPL, 3,764.41 quintals and under Anna Yojana, 2,367.75 quintals of rice were allotted for March while for April, the allotment under APL, BPL and Anna Yojana was 2,466.86 quintals, 3,764.17quintals and 2,367.75 quintals respectively for the entire Lakhipur subdivision. He said a huge quantity of rice was lifted from the Food Corporation of India for PDS, to be supplied to consumers by fair price shops.
Goswami further added that the valueof rice per quintal under APL is Rs 830, BPL Rs 565 and AY Rs 300 only. The information collected is that the rice of such massive quantity goes to openmarket clandestinely. As the rice meant for PDS is of superfine quality, the open market value of the same comes to around Rs 2,800 per quintal. Even if the quantity of rice as specified under the three schemes is sold at Rs 2,000 per quintal, the margin of profit for the syndicate of blackmarketeers is over Rs 98,42,000. This is how PDS functions in the subdivision, he pointed out. GSS general secretary pointed out a memorandum to the effect of detailing the massive corruption in PDS was submitted to the district-levelcivil supply department here, calling athorough investigation and necessaryaction against those persons who head the syndicate.
No fair price shop dealers got allotment of rice for the months mentioned. Fair price shop owners or dealers, he alleged, show that along with flour and kerosene, rice is also being given to consumers. Goswami demanded identification of the powerful syndicate of politicians and bureaucrats which he said is within the knowledge of the district and sub divisional administration. He claimed total responsibility for what he had revealed on PDS anomalies and irregularities. He said if he was misleading the people, the district andthe civil administration could take any action against him. His disclosuresare based on the ground reality and feedbacks from consumers. As the Ministry of Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs, Government of India is comingout with media advertisements to consumers for collecting cash memos against their purchases, why the fair price shop owners should not issue cash memos to consumers? (SENTINELASSAM)

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