Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar today said that there are reports of smuggling of foodgrains meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) to Nepal and Bangladesh.
“There have been reports and incidents of smuggling of Indian foodgrains across the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bangladesh borders,” Pawar told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
Security forces have seized Rs 1,16,85,028 worth of foodgrains like paddy and pulses smuggled to Nepal,while Rs 60.62 lakh worth of grains on Indo-Bangladesh border so far this year,he said.
According to the data submitted to Parliament,the maximum quantity of foodgrains (worth Rs 116 lakh) was seized at Indo-Nepal border was smuggled from Uttar Pradesh,while foodgrains worth Rs 51 lakh was smuggled from Tripura to Bangaldesh in the review period.
The Customs Department too has seized 384 tonnes of foodgrains and arrested two persons for illegally smuggling the grain to Nepal so far this year,the data showed.
The Customs and security forces like Sashastra Seema Bal are maintaining strict vigil to prevent smuggling activities on borders of these two countries,Pawar said.
The Centre allocates foodgrains to the state government for distribution through ration shops at subsidised rates to the poor. Each below poverty line (BPL) family is eligible every month for 35 kg of rice or wheat,while above poverty line (APL) category is entitled for 15 kg foodgrains.
There are 6.52 crore BPL carholders and 11.5 crore APL cardholers in the country at present.