State suspends distributors, ration dealers over supply of poor quality rice
Kolkata: The state Food & Supplies department on Tuesday suspended three distributors and a number of ration shop owners in the wake of complaints of poor quality rice from consumers in parts of Nadia and Jhargram district.
The state Food department has decided to initiate an enquiry by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to track the root of this inferior quality of rice that has been procured by distributors and then supplied to the shops.
State Food minister Jyotipriya Mallick held a meeting with distributors' association, dealers' association and rice millers' association at Khadya Bhavan.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the administrative meeting in Murshidabad on Monday had expressed her concern over poor quality of rice under Khadya Sathi project .
"The rice that was supplied to the ration shops at Karimpur and Palashipara in Nadia and a handful of ration shops in Jhargram are not procured or stored at the godown of the Food department. It has been procured from elsewhere. We have already suspended two distributors from Karimpur and Palashipara from where the shop owners had procured rice. Another distributor from Jhargram has been suspended for similar reasons," Mallick said. The state Food department has also suspended five ration shop owners and showcaused six from Karimpur.
It may be mentioned that a preliminary enquiry from the food department has revealed that the distributors have joined hands with as many as 16 shop owners in parts of Nadia and Jhargram district and had procured rice from elsewhere.
"We have formed eight vigilance team at the state level and four monitoring teams for each of the 23 districts for monitoring the total procurement and supply of rice to the ration shops," the minister said.
Reiterating the tough stand by the department, a senior official said they had also showcaused five shop owners in Kalimpong for providing poor quality of rice to consumers.
"Once we complete a thorough investigation in this regard, we are ready to go to the extent of terminating the contract of those dealers or distributors who have indulged in this unlawful practice," the official added.
The minister further made it clear that the Food department has supplied six lakh metric tonnes of rice to Food Corporation of India for mid-day meal scheme and there have been no complaints regarding the quality.