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PDS rice being smuggled via sea, says Food Secretary Radhakrishnan

Government not interested in going after small fry, says official

September 16, 2022 07:50 am | Updated 07:50 am IST - CHENNAI

Food Secretary J. Radhakrishnan and Tiruvallur Collector Alby John Varghese, inspecting the rice mill at Angadu village in Sholavaram near Chennai on Thursday.

Food Secretary J. Radhakrishnan and Tiruvallur Collector Alby John Varghese, inspecting the rice mill at Angadu village in Sholavaram near Chennai on Thursday. | Photo Credit: B. JOTHI RAMALINGAM

Food Secretary J. Radhakrishnan on Thursday said that rice meant for the public distribution system (PDS) was being smuggled through the sea.

Addressing presspersons, he said that they were getting specific inputs, including the boat number and names of those who were involved in the smuggling. Dr. Radhakrishnan said with the State government and the police blocking ways to smuggle rice meant for the PDS, including three major and 16 minor routes in Tiruvallur district and the rail route via Gummidipoondi, the new mode of smuggling by sea was being chosen by the smugglers. 

Dr. Radhakrishnan, along with District Collector Alby John Varghese, visited the private rice mill from where rice and wheat meant for the PDS had been packed and sold under a brand name. “The government wants us to find the kingpins. It is not interested in the small fry like vehicle drivers,” he said.

Giving names of at least three persons involved in smuggling in the district, he said the department had collected names of officials and lower-level staff who were involved in smuggling. Since May 2021, 11,008 people had been arrested for smuggling rice of which 113 persons were held under the Goondas Act.

He urged the public not to buy rice from PDS shops just for the sake of buying and then sell it to other shops and mills. “Tamil Nadu gives rice to over 2 crore family cardholders and the rice provided is more than what other States supply. The aim is to ensure nobody goes hungry,” he said. 

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