Poor survive on dumped 'bad' rice

Hundreds of people dug up a riverbed at Jagatpur to retrieve rice allegedly dumped by railway officials.

The story of wasted rice dates back to December 2011 when a wagon-load of rice belonging to FCI had arrived here from Kesinga in Kalahandi district.

Upon examination, the quality control team of the FCI had declared that all the 1,200 hundred bags of rice, weighing over 600 quintals, were unfit for human consumption.
However, on Friday, people were seen taking home the rice mixed with dirt.

When asked, the local authorities put the onus on the railway officials. “It was the responsibility of the Railways and Food Corporation of India  — the original owners of the rice, to ensure that the damaged food stuff is destroyed properly so that it doesn’t find its way to the kitchens of the people or consumed by animals,” a district official said.

Sold in slums

In a shocking instance, sources said people have even sold the retrieved rice at Rs 10 per kg in slum areas.

However, when contacted, District Collector Girish S N said he was not aware of any such developments. “I have not received any such information yet. [If found true] We will definitely stop it,” he said.

The Food Corporation of India  had indented the rice in April 2010 and had booked the railway wagon for direct transportation of the stock from Kesinga to Cuttack. But it took more than 20 months for the Railways to cover a distance of 350 km.

Since the foodstuff was insured, Railways paid the damage to Food Corporation of India and took the responsibility of destroying the damaged foodstuff.

“The manner in which the Railway authorities disposed of the damaged foodstuff is outrageous. It invites stringent action against the erring officials,” senior leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Subash Singh said.

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