Seizes 96 trucks, to test for below par food grains; also probes whether supply contains flood rotten rice mix
Srinagar, Dec 9: A day after GNS exposed that Kashmir is being supplied with ‘substandard’ rice from Punjab, Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs on Saturday ordered that around 70 truckloads from the neighbouring state shall not be unloaded and returned back.
In a related development, the department officers led separate teams and seized 96 trucks loads of the food grains and that include the 70 trucks with supplies from Punjab which were awaiting to be unloaded.
Also, the department has decided to probe whether the supply might be mixed with rice which got rotten during 2014 floods in the Valley and sold to outside contractors.
Sources said that a high-level team headed by Joint Director FCS&CA Abdul Qayoom Sheikh and Assistant Director Stores, Mudasir Ahmad raided private godowns at Shilwat Sumbal in north Kashmir and seized 80 trucks carrying “substandard rice”, top sources said.
They said that another raid was conducted by Joint Director and Assistant Director Stores at a private godown in Budgam where 12 trucks were seized.
They said that Assistant Director Pulwama, Riyaz Malik raided FCI store at Lethpora and four trucks, load with rice, were seized.
Sources also disclosed that a high level central team accompanied by State officers was arriving in Kashmir on Monday and would conduct raids at various places.
They said that officials suspect 81,000 quintal rice which was rotten due to floods in 2014 and then sold to outside contractors at Rs. 5 per kilogram was being mixed with rice and then sent to Kashmir. “The matter is also being probed,” they said.
When contacted, Commissioner Secretary MD Khan told Srinagar-based news agency Global News Service (GNS) that he has passed strict orders to officials and accordingly the raids were conducted today. “We have passed strict orders that nearly 70 trucks which carry supply from Punjab shall not be unloaded and returned back,” he said.
“We want to assure you that we will not allow it and ensure that our people are not made to consume substandard rice,” he said.
The Commissioner Secretary said that without “nexus” with local and FCI officials, the supply of substandard rice to Kashmir was “not possible”. “I assure you, we will get it probed. There are so many big crocodiles but none will be spared,” he said.
Meanwhile, a high-level meeting was convened by FCS&CA Minister Chowdhary Zulfikar in Jammu and it was attended by Commissioner Secretary MD Khan, Director FCS&CA Nasir Ahmad, LMD’s RK Katoch and Advocate General Jehangir Iqbal Ganai among others.
During the meeting, FCI Supplier was called on and on the direction by the minister, the supplier took samples of the substandard rice to be finally sent to Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL). “We have decided that strict action will be taken who are found at fault,” the Commissioner Secretary added as he confirmed the meeting. (GNS)