Kerala

Worm-infested rice at ration shops raises a stink

A rice bag infested with worms at a ration shop near Changanassery.

A rice bag infested with worms at a ration shop near Changanassery.  

Dealers seek CM’s and Minister’s intervention

An apathy shown by officials concerned is affecting thousands of families who depend on rice distributed through authorised ration shops in Kottayam.

The ration shop dealers in Kottayam are up in arms against officials with the District Supply Office (DSO) and the Supplyco over distribution of worm-infested rice stocks for sale.

Outraged by the lack of concern shown by the authorities despite repeated complaints, they have now approached Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman, seeking their urgent intervention into the matter.

NFSA godowns

“The rice stocks that we have received from the NFSA godowns under the Supplyco over the past six months are inedible and pest-eaten. Though the issue came to the notice of the authorities during a recent quality inspection, no steps are being made to replace this rotten stock even as insects and flies have swarmed our shops, affecting the remaining fresh grain stocks as well,” Muraleedharan Nair, secretary, All Kerala Retail Ration Dealers Association in Changanassery Taluk.

According to him, the sudden rise in the volume of poor quality rice pointed to a racket involving the government officers and a few rice mill owners, which diverted the good quality rice to open market and brought in recycled rice instead.

During floods

“The origin of this rotten rice could be traced to the huge volume of rice stocks that sustained damaged during the mega floods in the previous year,” he added.

As per estimates, about 1,000 gunny bags of rotten rice are awaiting replacement at the 30 ration shops in Changanassery alone.

Alarming

“The situation has been so alarming that the NFSA officials continue to distribute the same poor quality stock despite directions from the Taluk Supply Officers concerned,” said another dealer.

When contacted, officials with the Kottayam DSO conceded that complaints over the poor quality of rice stocks had been pouring in over the last couple of months.

“A recent inspection to the Supplyco warehouse revealed that huge quantities of rotten rice have been kept there. Based on the complaints of the dealers, we are now probing whether these damp sacks belonged to the same stock and how they reached the shops despite a direction to destroy them,” said a senior official.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 8:56:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/worm-infested-rice-at-ration-shops-raises-a-stink/article30079822.ece

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