CM Chouhan orders inquiry into sale of grain unfit for humans at govt shop

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Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Thursday announced a police inquiry into distribution of sub-standard rice, meant for cattle feed, to poor people through the Public Distribution System, in two districts of the state.

The inquiry would be conducted by the economic offence wing (EOW) of Madhya Pradesh police, the CM announced.

The sub-standard rice was being distributed by millers in collusion with officials in tribal dominated Balaghat and Mandla districts.

In Balaghat district, the administration had sealed 18 rice mills and disconnected power supply to these mills in the past 24 hours. Five more employees of the food and civil supplies department in the district were suspended on Thursday. The administration is in process of filing more FIRs against rice mill owners, said Balaghat collector Deepak Arya.

In Mandla, 14 rice mills and a warehouse were sealed to facilitate the inquiry, said district collector Harshika Singh.

On Wednesday night, the state government had terminated the services of two officers of Food and Civil Supplies department who held the posts of quality controllers, suspended another officer of the department in Balaghat district and filed FIRs with police against eight millers in the two districts on basis of analysis done of 32 samples of food grains by a Central government’s lab from these, officials said.

The lab report submitted on August 21 by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to MP’s principal secretary Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection, Faiz Ahmad Kidwai, stated, “The samples were analysed in the NABL accredited Central Grain Analysis Laboratory (CGAL), Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi….The stocks are found to be unfit for human consumption and in the categories of Feed-I which is meant to be suitable for livestock feed (such as goat, horse, sheep), Feed-II which is suitable for cattle feed and Feed-III which is suitable for poultry feed, as per the guidelines for the issuance/disposal of the stocks.”

On Thursday, CM Chouhan said in a tweet, “The guilty who supplied bad quality rice to public distribution shops will not be spared. I have decided to conduct an EOW inquiry into it so that truth could come to light. Stringent action will be taken against the guilty to check possibility of recurrence of such incidents.”

However, the Congress dubbed the CM’s announcement as an eyewash.

State Congress spokesperson Bhupendra Gupta said, “Had the Congress not raised the issue with concrete evidence and there had not been a central government’s report on the quality of rice, the BJP government would not have taken any action. The central government’s report was lying with the state government for over a week. Will the CM conduct an inquiry as to why action was not taken against millers and government employees responsible for distribution of such rice of poor quality through the PDS shops, so far?”

(With input from Monika Pandey in Jabalpur)

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