'Over 30K tonnes of Anna Bhagya rice pest-infested'

Officials will be taken to task for lapses: Minister

'Over 30K tonnes of Anna Bhagya rice pest-infested'

Admitting that more than 30,000 tonnes of rice meant for Anna Bhagya scheme was pest-infested and consisted broken grain beyond permissible limit, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao on Friday said disciplinary action will be taken against officials responsible for the lapses.

Briefing reporters after conducting a detailed review of the status of substandard rice stock, he said that of the 68,000 tonnes suspected to be of sub-standard quality, about 37,000 can be used for the Public Distribution System. Directions have been issued to conduct a thorough verification of the quality and clean the rice before supplying it to the BPL families, he added.

The minister said pest and worm infestation will not be a problem as the rice can be cleaned through fumigation. But, he said, broken rice beyond permissible limit will be a huge problem. There were two official reports: While one report said that about 10,000 tonnes of rice consisted of broken rice beyond permissible limit, another put the number at 3,000.

Hence, directions have been issued to the officials to verify the entire stock, he added. When asked why the department has delayed the distribution of the stock, he cited complaints about the quality of the rice. Moreover, there was confusion on the total quantity of substandard rice. Steps will be taken to distribute it within a month, he added. He said the government will not incur any loss as substandard rice will be returned to the millers, asking them to replace it with good quality rice.

If the millers do not agree to it, legal action will be taken against them. Besides, it has been decided not to clear the bills of millers if they have not submitted minimum support price certificate at the time of delivery of rice. Action will also be taken against the department officials responsible for the lapse, he added.

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