Reason cited for cancelling the first tender questioned
Order CBI investigation,
“Prime Minister should explain”
NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday described the Government’s decision to import wheat yet another time at a price of $390 a tonne as “shameless loot.”
Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said the Government rejected an offer of wheat at $263 a tonne in June. Ten days later, it imported 5.7 lakh tonnes at $325 a tonne. While it is yet to arrive, another order for nearly 8 lakh tonnes has been placed at the rate of $390 a tonne. “This is daylight robbery,” Mr. Javadekar said.
Calling for the Prime Minister’s intervention to “stop the fraud,” he said the party was not impressed by the Government’s “reason” for cancelling the first tender. It was stated that the price of $263 a tonne was “too high” and there was an expectation that the international wheat price would “soften” on new arrivals.
Mr. Javadekar said the government should order a CBI inquiry. If not, vigilance agencies and courts should take suo motu notice of the issue and stop the imports.
While Indian farmers were being paid Rs. 850 a quintal by government agencies procuring wheat for buffer stock, foreign farmers were offered Rs. 1,600 a quintal. Had the minimum support price announced by the Government been Rs. 1,100 a quintal, the State could have met its procurement target for the buffer stock as production was more than last year’s by 50 lakh tonnes.
“The Prime Minister should explain how the import would help stabilise the price line while doing justice to farmers,” Mr. Javadekar said. The BJP has launched an agitation on the “wheat scam” and would spread the “message of betrayal” all over the country, he added.