Anna Bhagya rice being illegally diverted, sold back

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Bangalore: The State government has stopped buying rice from the open market following suspicion that a substantial quantity of grains being provided by the Centre for the Anna Bhagya scheme is being illegally diverted and sold back to the State government through the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange (NCDX).

The State’s requirement for Anna Bhagya scheme is 2.75 lakh tonnes of rice and 75,000 tonnes of wheat per month. Of this, two lakh tonnes of rice and all the requirement of wheat is provided by the Centre. The balance rice was being procured from the open market through the NCDX.

“There was a strong suspicion that the some quantity of rice being provided by the Centre from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was being illegally diverted and sold through the NCDX. So we have taken a decision to stop purchasing rice from NCDX”, Food and Civil Supplies Department Commissioner Harsh Gupta said.

Three months ago, the food and civil supplies department received a complaint that there were irregularities in the purchase of 17,500 tonnes of rice for implementing the Anna Bhagya scheme in Bijapur. The complaint was that rice from the FCI was diverted and sold in the open market to the State government through NCDX and had become part of the 17,000 tonnes of rice. Preliminary investigation has revealed that it was a genuine complaint, Gupta said.

The bags containing the rice matched with those stored in FCI godown. The department has ordered a comprehensive inquiry into the incident.It will also be probed whether there have been other such instances.

The two lakh tonnes of rice which has so far been purchased through NCDX will also be scrutinised.

The department has sent a proposal to the State government to request the Centre to provide an additional 75,000 tonnes of rice per month in lieu of its quota of wheat. The requirement of wheat of the ration card holders could be purchased from the open market, Gupta said.

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