Tuesday, November 29, 2022

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CBI raids FCI godowns in Moga

Following reports of substandard wheat and rice being exported to southern and eastern states for distribution amongst the poor in the public distribution system (PDS) during the Covid-19 pandemic, sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) carried out fresh searches in at least three warehouses of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in Moga district during the past 24 hours.

Earlier, the CBI had conducted raids at more than 40 warehouses of the FCI and central warehousing corporation and state procurement agencies on January 27 and 28 to collect foodgrain samples.

The CBI officials checked Soma-II, a modern storehouse of Soma Punjab Warehousing Private Limited, at Saleena village and FCI warehouses at Baghapurana and Moga to collect wheat and rice samples.

The CBI sleuths took samples to check the quality and quantity of the central-pool foodgrain stocks pertaining to 2019-20 and 2020-21 stored at these facilities, a senior FCI official said.

There were also reports that taking advantage of the newly enacted central farm laws, hundreds of rice millers in Punjab and Haryana had bought paddy in September and October from Uttar Pradesh and other states at lower rates.

Intelligence inputs by the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (SIB) had given reports to the Centre that the millers were delivering substandard rice to the FCI in the central pool by conniving with FCI officials and selling superior-quality rice in the market to earn profit by adopting unfair practices.

Meanwhile, FCI officials said 50 per cent of the paddy procured in Punjab in 2020 had been custom-milled and delivered in the central pool. The milling was still on, but delivery of rice to the FCI was slow due to shortage of gunny bags. A rice miller in Moga said there was an overall shortage of 30 to 35 per cent gunny bags in the state.

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