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As food dept strikes work over vigilance action, FCI CMD seeks Punjab chief secy’s intervention

The Vigilance Bureau has already arrested former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu in an alleged foodgrain transport tender scam. On November 23, it had arrested two district food and supplies controllers in connection with the same scam, and is tightening its noose on a few officials.

Food Corporation of India (FCI) chairperson and managing director Ashok KK Meena has written to Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua urging him to get the matter resolved as it may cast shadow on PDS distribution in the country. (File/Representational)

AMID strike by the employees of Punjab’s food and civil supplies department against Vigilance Bureau action against some officials, Food Corporation of India (FCI) chairperson and managing director Ashok KK Meena has written to Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Janjua urging him to get the matter resolved as it may cast shadow on PDS distribution in the country.

Meena has also stated that the delay in operations being caused may also delay payments to the state.

In a demi-official letter, Meena has asked the chief secretary to personally intervene and get the matter resolved as the strike was affecting evacuation of stocks by rakes from Punjab.

The Vigilance Bureau has already arrested former food and civil supplies minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu in an alleged foodgrain transport tender scam. On November 23, it had arrested two district food and supplies controllers in connection with the same scam, and is tightening its noose on a few officials. This has resulted in the employees striking work and organising protests.

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Meena, in the letter, said, “This is to invite your attention towards the indefinite strike called by Punjab procuring agencies joint coordination committee (Markfed, Pungrain, Punsup and Punjab State warehousing Corporation), which is hampering evacuation of stocks by rakes as well as ongoing rice procurement operations in Punjab region”.

“In this connection, it is to inform that any disruption in rakes loading may lead to dislocation of PDS in recipient regions. It is also pertinent to mention here that this strike may adversely affect the squaring up of the cash credit limit (CCL) account of RMS 2021-22 of Punjab state as the wheat liquidation of crop year 2021-22 has to be completed before the end of December 2022.”

“Further, the strike may result into delay in acceptance of CMR (custom milled rice) by FCI and payment to the state government. I would therefore request you to kindly intervene in the matter personally and use your good offices to resolve the issue immediately,” the letter read.

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The employees of foodgrain procurement agencies staged a protest Tuesday outside Anaj Bhawan at Chandigarh.

They want FCI to stop placement of indents for loading of goods trains from Punab, and withdrawal of the cases against the food department officers. they have demanded that the officer concerned be informed before initiating action based on anonymous complaints.

Punjab had got a CCL of Rs 43,526 crore for procurement of paddy for the procurement season that concluded recently. The state procures paddy for the central pool, which is milled and then supplied to the Centre for distribution under PDS.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 08:41 IST
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