Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Monday said the seized rice from a godown in Assam has nothing to do with the rice meant for public distribution system and COVID relief in the state.
“It has nothing to do with the PDS, nothing to do with the COVID relief that was given (to Meghalaya)…this is not part of the NFSA or PDS system as the rice has already been received in advance for the month of May and June and is already in our godowns (for distribution),” Sangma told reporters.
He was reacting to the concerns expressed by several quarters following the recent seizure of huge quantities of rice from a godown in Assam.
He said there is no question of NFSA rice being there in Assam’s godown as there is no tag that says it is the Meghalaya rice.
“If it is, if it is not we have no idea but the point is that the NFSA rice which is meant for distribution has been received already in advance. There is no question of this being the NFSA rice or the rice meant for the public distribution system, there has been a big mistake or misunderstanding from the reports that have come…,” the chief minister clarified.
“If it was also, the quantity is almost half the amount the state requires every month. Therefore, it is a huge amount and an amount like this being missing from the system would come to the notice of everybody,” he also stated.
Asked, Sangma said as per verbal report, the seized rice was meant for the social welfare department adding that it is completely for a different purpose if it is and that party has also been clarified. According to him, he is waiting for the written report on the matter.
The seized rice is claimed to have been allocated to Continental Milkcose Ltd by FCI Shillong through the social welfare department.
Meanwhile in a statement issued on Monday, Director of Social Welfare DD Shira said the department is awaiting an official letter from the concerned Investigation Officer/Assam government for enquiry and further appropriate action against the supplier.
According to him, the Government of India allocates rice under the Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP) to different states.
He said the Directorate of Social Welfare in turn allocated the rice to the approved manufacturer (Continental Milkose Ltd) which was lifted from the FCI godown.
“The manufacturer then processes it into a variety of ready to eat fortified food products in the factory which is supplied to the Anganwadi centres under the Nutrition Programme,” Shira said.
The Director further claimed that there has been no instance of non-supply of food items so far, and complete indented quantities have been received.
He further stated that the Directorate of Social Welfare has been sending random samples of the food items for lab analysis and quality testing from time to time to ensure that the food items supplied is not of sub-standard quality and conforms to the nutritional norms.