Bengal: Officials to be monitored while procuring foodgrains from farmers

Kolkata, Dec 18 – Amid the recent developments in the multi-crore ration distribution case in West Bengal, the Food & Supplies Department has now brought the system of procurement of foodgrains from the farmers under strict surveillance.

Sources said that activities of the purchase officials deployed in the camps will be strictly monitored by the Food & Supplies Department at the time of the foodgrain procurement.

The decision has been taken after allegations surfaced that for every 10 kg of foodgrain, 11 kg was procured from the farmers. But in the records, 10 kg was shown as procurement amount, and the farmers were also paid the minimum support price for 10 kg only.

The extra amount procured from the farmers free of cost — as per the findings of the central agencies probing the ration distribution case — were sold in the open markets.

Sources also said that the purchase officials will now be deputed at foodgrain procurement camps on a rotational basis, where one purchase official will not be deputed in the same camp on consecutive occasions.

Food department authorities feel that rotational deputations will be instrumental in breaking the nexus between a section of the purchase officials and those who used to purchase the excess foodgrain from them.

Sources in the Food & Supplies Department also said that the performance of the purchase officials will be reviewed on a monthly basis henceforth. If any lapse on part of any of them comes to the notice of the department, the concerned person will be relieved of his duties.

Recently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had arrested state Forest Minister and former Food & Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mallick in connection with the ration distribution case. Kolkata-based businessman Bakibur Rahaman was also arrested in connection with the same case.


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