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Officer who barred items from CAPF canteens said to be shifted

DIG Meena, who listed of 1,026 ‘imported’ items, likely to be repatriated to CRPF.

The facility of CSD canteens is available only to serving and retired military personnel along with their dependents. Goods are can be purchased by them at rates cheaper than those prevalent in open market, as a welfare measure. (Representational image)

The officer who had prepared the list of products meant to be banned for sale through canteens of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) is likely to be removed from his post and repatriated to his parent cadre, sources told The Indian Express.

The list was withdrawn by the government on Monday amid uproar over items of various Indian companies being included in it.

Read| Going swadeshi, CAPF canteen bans 1,000 products, then withdraws list

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), sources said, is now working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, the nodal ministry responsible for the Make in India initiative, to prepare a new list of items to be classified as “purely imported”. These will be kept off CAPF canteen shelves.

DIG R M Meena, chief executive officer (CEO) of Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandar (KPKB), which runs CAPF canteens, is likely to be sent back to CRPF, his parent force, sources said.

Meena, when contacted, said, “I have not received any such orders yet.”

While orders to sell only swadeshi items, and keep “purely imported” items off the shelves of CAPF canteens, were issued with MHA’s concurrence, Meena had prepared the list of 1,026 items on May 29, sources said.

Read| PM Modi’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic package: Here is the fine print

“The MHA brass has taken the matter seriously and the KPKB CEO, responsible for preparing the list, will be sent back to his parent cadre. An inquiry on how the list came to include those items is on,” a senior government official said. “A new list will be prepared soon after consultation with nodal authorities for Make In India.”

While the order withdrawing the list was issued by CRPF D-G

A P Maheshwari in his capacity as chairman of the Welfare and Rehabilitation Board of the CAPFs, sources said KPKB is governed directly by the MHA. “It draws officers from various CAPFs on deputation. The CAPFs do not have any administrative control over the functioning of KPKB.”

A source said the list prepared by DIG Meena was based on declarations made by the companies themselves. After the MHA’s May 13 order to sell only “Swadeshi/Made in India” products from CAPF canteens beginning June 1, the source said, KPKB asked all companies supplying to canteens to give details of manufacturing of their products.

“The items which were banned had been listed by these companies as purely imported, and only repackaged and branded in India,” another official said. “That is why the KPKB management put them in the list of ‘purely imported’ items, effectively taking them off the shelves. It’s not that all products of Dabur and Bajaj have been delisted,”

The order to ban over 1,000 “imported” products by the management of CAPF canteens created a flutter on Monday. The order had banned products from companies such as Dabur India, Bajaj Electricals, VIP, HUL, Wipro, Bluestar, Havells and Eureka Forbes, among others.

With a potential to spark panic in the industry — given that the May 29 order came from MHA, and could be interpreted as a signal of official policy in future — the government quickly withdrew the list of products annexed with the order. The order, though, continues to remain in force.

“This is clarified that the list issued by Kendriya Police Kalyan Bhandar on 29th May 2020 regarding delisting of certain products has been erroneously issued at the level of CEO. The list has been withdrawn and action is being initiated for the lapse,” according to a statement from CRPF D-G Maheshwari.

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