Srinagar, Oct 13 : Taking undue advantage of current unrest, the store keepers of Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs department, are busy in black marketing of subsidized ration.
Scores of people from different areas of Srinagar and other parts of the valley informed on Thursday that since the unrest began in the valley, most of the store keepers have adopted a different methodology to swindle subsidized ration meant for public consumption.
They said that they are being denied ration by the storekeepers on the plea that they are not in a position to provide ration to all rationees because of the current unrest. “On one hand government is claiming that there is no scarcity of ration, but on the other hand we are repeatedly told that the supply has not been received due to current unrest. It appears that a well-knit nexus is operating within the FCS&CA department where these officials swindle subsidized ration and sell it to shopkeepers on exorbitant rates,” said Mohmmad Aslam a resident ofMehjoor Nagar.
He alleged that these store keepers not only indulge in black-marketing of ration, being supplied to the ration depot, but also provide the ration to genuine ration card holders at higher rates.
Habibullah a resident of Bemina, alleged, “Most of the consumers seldom purchase rice from FCS&CA ration depots being run by the government. The moot question arises as to where does the rice supplied from ration depots go. The FCS&CA Department has become a den of corruption. Though the the store keepers resort to black marketing, the authorities never bothered to take corrective measures” he said.
He said he visited the ration depot for ‘atta’ (wheat flour) many a time, but got the same response that the department was yet to supply adequate supply of ration. “There is a need for an immediate probe into pilferage and malpractices being followed by these FCS&CA officials so that consumers get the real benefit,” he said.
A resident of a village Ashipora area of Kupwara district, who declined to be named, said: “From unloading of ration supply, the practice of swindling of food grain and ration meant for people begins. Consumers are shown scarcity of ration, be it rice, sugar or flour, every month. If the government provides fixed supply of ration, why does it not reach consumers? The government should fix both accountability and responsibility.”
Recently, the government had claimed to provide subsidized ration to 24.72 lakh families, a number up by 6.7lakh after the government conducted a fresh survey to cover left-out families during Census 2011. It had said the decision would put an additional burden of Rs 701.82 crore on the state exchequer annually.
The total requirement of food grain in the state was 7.56 lakh metric tons in 2000, but on account of an increase of 6.7 lakh families, there had been an additional requirement of food grain of 2.81 lakh metric tons per month.
One of the former top officials of the FCS&CA said that the government should investigate the activities of their staff posted at ration depots, who have stolen rice meant for public and are selling it to exorbitant rates. “ it is true that the real beneficiaries (poor public) are not getting their share under BPL, APL and AAY etc, simply because the said rice secretly goes to illegal stores under the patrons of some selfish staffs of the department,”.
When contacted FCS&CA minister, Chowdary Zulfikar Ali he assured that he will look into the matter.
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