March 27, 2021 5:38:02 am
Several samples of PDS (public distribution system) foodgrains being supplied in Delhi were found “unfit for human consumption” and “beyond rejection limit” by the Centre in October last year, which was communicated to Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, with a request to carry out a time-bound enquiry into the issue.
The Centre’s Department of Food and Public Distribution had flagged concerns over the matter with Dev on October 23. A detailed report was also sent to the Delhi Food Commissioner based on analysis carried out at the Central Grain Analysis Laboratory, Krishi Bhawan.
In his response Friday, Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain said the Centre had supplied “rotten ration” to Delhi during the lockdown, which was returned.
“I even wrote a letter to the Union Minister, demanding immediate action. Simultaneously, we had returned the rotten ration. The Delhi government has been serious about the quality of cereals and pulses available under the ration scheme. We won’t tolerate any irresponsibility or laxity regarding the quality of ration coming from the Centre’s godowns,” Hussain told The Indian Express.
Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey wrote in his letter to Dev that “90 samples out of 138 samples were found to be beyond rejection limit (BRL) as per the Uniform Specifications of foodgrains (wheat and rice), including 42 samples (18 samples of wheat and 24 samples of rice) which are found beyond the PFA/FSSAl standards which is unfit for human consumption.”
“Moreover, various shortcomings/discrepancies have been observed during the course of inspection which points to serious negligence of duties/responsibilities on part of FPS owners and officers/authorities involved in the whole process of distribution. Therefore, it is a matter of serious concern which requires your attention,” Pandey wrote.
Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, PDS foodgrains are distributed through a network of ration shops, of which 2,005 are in Delhi. The Centre is in charge of procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of foodgrains to the state governments. The states are entrusted with identification of beneficiaries and delivery of the foodgrains.
In Delhi, the supply to ration shops are done from six godowns of the Food Corporation of India.
Pandey added in his letter, “Proper functioning of Fair Price Shops is necessary for robust implementation of PDS since it forms the direct point of contact with beneficiaries. It should, therefore, be a matter of grave concern since the quality of the foodgrain is found to be unfit for human consumption. The occurrence of such instances reflects a dereliction of duty by district officers/officials and authorities involved in the whole process of distribution.”
Hussain’s allegations comes at a time when the Delhi government and the Centre are locked in a tussle over the launch of the doorstep delivery of ration scheme in the city. While the Delhi government insists the scheme will end “ration mafia” in the city, the Centre has been maintaining that the scheme violates provisions of the NFSA.
Hussain also said the Delhi government will implement the Centre’s ‘one nation one ration card’ scheme and ensure that all ration shops use e-POS machines.
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