The Hush Post: While many people die of starvation every year, 6,000 tonnes of wheat, sufficient to feed more than 14 lakh people was left to rot in Moga District’s Dharamkot sub-division. The wheat is now going to be used to produce manure.
This issue came to light in reply to a question raised in the Punjab Assembly recently.
The written reply was given by none else but the Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh. He said that 1.23 lakh bags of wheat each 50 kg, equal to 6,178 tonnes, from the produce of 2014-15, was stored on open plinths. Eventually the Food Corporation of India (FCI) declared the same unfit for consumption. Only this month that the state government has charge sheeted two people for this gross negligence.
The Chief Minister’s reply states: “The wheat stocks which are stored on open plinths are covered with polythene covers. The concerned officials or custodians were provided with sufficient quantity of polythene cover for safe upkeep of wheat. Markfed’s district manager in Moga has directed the concerned custodians to safeguard wheat from rain, but non-compliance of the instructions by the custodians concerned led to the loss.’’
The question was raised by AAP’s Kotkapura MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan. He asked for details of the case in the assembly session. Speaking to the Times of India, he added that he suspected pilferage of the wheat, though the entire stock was being termed as destroyed. He added: “There is a need to probe deeper into the matter.’’
The Chief Minister’s reply further states the wheat originally priced at Rs 15.5 crore, fetched only Rs 4 crore when it was auctioned recently. just Rs 4 crore. To recover the remaining losses, Punjab State Co-op Supply & Marketing Federation Ltd (Markfed) charge sheeted two salesmen, Ram Swarup and Balwinder Singh on March 5.