Staff Reporter

"For negligence of duty"

TIRUNELVELI: Six employees of Nanguneri-Radhapuram Taluk Marketing Society at Valliyoor were suspended on Friday.

As a group of ration cardholders complained to Mr. Appavu and Minister for Environment and Pollution Control, T.P.M. Maideen Khan, who came to Valliyoor to attend a function on Thursday, that the quality of rice being sold under the new scheme in many ration shops was poor, they inspected the godown at Valliyoor, which used to 1,300 tonnes of rice every month for sale through 280 ration shops, including 40 shops under the control of Nanguneri-Radhapuram Taluk Marketing Society.

When Mr. Maideen Khan found the rice was not good, he ordered the officials to return the lot and distribute good quality rice to cardholders.

Later, Mr. Appavu wanted to check the quality of rice being distributed by Nanguneri-Radhapuram Taluk Marketing Society to its shops.

"As no official was present inside the office even after 2.15 p.m," he informed the officials at the Cooperative Department in Tirunelveli and a senior official from Cheranmahadevi, Pachchaimal, rushed to Valliyoor to ascertain the situation.

"Since the office of the society had been locked and no official was present inside the office during working hours, it has been recommended that Wilson (accountant), Suyambulingam (head clerk), Murugesan (bill clerk), Thamizh Chelvan, Sudalayandi and Radhakrishnan (all clerks) be suspended for negligence in duty," Mr. Appavu said.

Based on the report submitted by Mr. Pachchamal, all the six employees of the society were suspended on Friday.

A top official in the Cooperative Department said as the department was forwarding the rice received from Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation to ration shops the department had nothing to say about its quality.

"Whenever the government procures rice with higher moisture from delta farmers due to political compulsion, the dampness should be scientifically minimised before being stocked in the godowns.

Since this rice with higher moisture content is stocked without any processing, it becomes grey or black in colour.

Whenever this rice reaches the ration shops, we are being made scapegoats after a hue and cry from the public," the official said adding that the TNCSC should be doubly vigilant while procuring rice from the Food Corporation of India.