Officials of various departments shirked the responsibility of identifying whether a truckload of rice belonged to the rice mill or was meant for the Public Distribution System (PDS) scheme, at the Karnataka Development Programme (KDP) review meeting held here on Tuesday.
S.S. Mallikarjun, Davangere MLA and D.G. Shanathana Gowda, Honnali MLA, took strong objection to the arrest of rice mill owner Shivalingaiah in Honnali two days ago, on charges of storing PDS rice illegally. They said the agency that had been assigned by the government to supply rice at Rs.22 per kg had procured rice from different places and stored two truck loads of rice at the mill. The rice had not been supplied to the Food and Civil Supplies Department to be used under the PDS scheme. They urged district in-charge Minister Shyamanur Shivashankarappa to summon the police officers concerned to seek an explanation.
Mr. Mallikarjun asked the Deputy Director of the Food and Civil Supplies Department Manjunath to ascertain whether the seized rice was meant for distribution under the scheme. In reply, Mr. Manjunath said he on examination it was found that the bags of rice were not meant for the scheme. He said it was not secured from any fair price shop. Meanwhile, Additional Superintendent of Police Ravinarayana, said that it was only after confirmation from officials, the rice mill owner was arrested.