December 2017 News

Kashmir Turning 'Dumping Ground' For 'Substandard' Rice

24 December 2017
Kashmir Observer

Srinagar: New Delhi's calls of setting-up task force to check the menace notwithstanding, Kashmir Valley has virtually turned as a dumping ground for inferior and substandard rice. The supply of sub-standard rice to consumers comes at a time when people are facing the problem of inadequate supply of essentials through government distribution system, particularly sugar and kerosene oil in the state. On Friday, an official team led by a magistrate raided at a go-down at Peg Shelwat area of Sumbal in north Kashmir's Bandipora district and seized hundreds of quintals of rice suspected to be sub-standard. Concerned Tehsildar Firdous Qadri said that the raid was carried out on directions by the higher ups and 'we seized all the trucks loaded with the rice.' 'We have carried out the raid at Peg Shilwat in strict compliance to the instructions by the Deputy Commissioner Bandipora,' he said. The officer said that the sample have been sent for FSL test. Sources said that about 60 trucks loaded with rice have been seized. They said that there was nexus among the FCI officials, the 'rice mafia' and transport companies. When contacted, Commissioner Secretary Department of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs, M D Khan said that he has already ordered concerned officials to take necessary action in this regard. 'In compliance to the orders, the Director (FCS&CA) ordered further process and the rice has been seized,' Khan said. The seized rice, he said, has been sent to the forensic laboratory for necessary tests for confirmation. Sources said that the substandard rice has been dumped in number of FCI godowns including FCI godown Sheikhpora, Sangrahama Peg and Peg-2 Budgam. Recently the government ordered return of 70-truck loads of substandard rice to Punjab. However, a local news agency quoting sources said that these trucks might not have been returned to Punjab but unloaded in Gurez to be ultimately supplied to consumers during the winter. Even as the Commissioner Secretary FCS&CA MD Khan rejected unloading of these trucks in any store in Valley but in same breath he told the news agency GNS that 'in case it is proved otherwise, we will not spare anyone involved and stern action will be taken.' He added: 'The police have also already filed an FIR and the police investigation is ongoing.' The news agency quoting sources said that a high-level inquiry committee was being ordered at official level and the file in this regard has been sent to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for necessary approval. Last year the Ministry for Food and Consumer Affairs, GoI, has set up a task force to check supply of substandard food grains to Jammu and Kashmir. This has been done on a 'complaint' by Jammu and Kashmir government alleging supply of substandard rice to the state.