TODAY -

Seizure of PDS rice amid erratic distribution
- The People's Chronicle Editorial :: March 22, 2023 -



FROM drug peddling and vehicle lifting to the latest incident of impounding six vehicles found transporting PDS rice from a FCI warehouse in Tualnuam under Churachandpur district, there seems to be substantial number of people looking for easy money in the state.

Ever since the government intensified the anti-drug campaign, there has been consistent reports of seizures of narcotic drugs in addition to the vigil maintained by the security forces resulting in arrest of vehicle lifters and urea smugglers as well in different parts of the state.

With exception of the recent arrest of a mastermind along with five members of a vehicle lifting gang, there has been no breakthrough in rounding up of kingpins orchestrating drug or urea smuggling in-spite of detention of petty drug peddlers and drivers, thereby compelling one to question commitment of those entrusted to investigate the case.

In case the pathetic rate of conviction of the prime culprits continues a time might come when those working sincerely at the ground level would let their guard down.

In such a scenario, it is obvious that anti-social elements would be in a position of advantage. Pending outcome of enquiry, if any, into Monday eveningís incident in Churachandpur, it would be imprudent to conclude that the rice consignment recovered was meant for illicit sale, but the fact that huge quantity of the staple food item of the people were being transported under the cover of darkness gives enough to suspect involvement of a syndicate in connivance with officials of the department concerned.

As distribution of PDS rice has ceased for the last few months in majority of the assembly constituencies contrary to availability and gradual rise in the market price of the same, it is obvious that the rice consignment was not meant for the public but destined for well-connected trader(s).

With local civil bodies and functionaries of consumersí club of Churachandpur contending that rice consignment was being siphoned off by some unscrupulous elements from PDS quota of four assembly constituencies, namely Churachandpur, Singhat, Henglep and Sajkot, the case merits impartial investigation to identify all those involved.

As it is confirmed that the PDS rice bags were loaded in six trucks from FCI warehouse in Tualnuam and relevant details already in possession of the police, there is no valid reason why the modus operandi should be kept concealed.

It is worth noting here, whenever there is regular distribution of rice under the centrally-sponsored PDS scheme, that guarantees the beneficiaries specific quantities either on payment of nominal amount or free of cost, traders arenít able to dictate terms, at-least in rice.

In contrast, cessation of rice distribution often sees unprecedented spike in market price of the same rice variety, thereby indicating nexus between the suppliers and the business sharks.

Moreover, it is desired that functionaries of the Churachandpur district unit of consumersí club mount pressure on authorities concerned for a justified explanation on the stealthy transportation of the rice consignment or till the real culprits have been booked and penalised, failing which many other unscrupulous elements would be emboldened to loot the public.



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