FCI’s quality control in rice purchase irks politicians
The state’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiyya has accused the FCI of “high-handedness’’, while MPs from the state disrupted Lok Sabha proceedings when the issue was raised by Congress MP Jagdambika Pal on Friday, getting instant support from SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and other SP members.
Reports of protests by rice millers, who include many politicians, against rejection of their sub-standard rice were received from several districts. However, learning from the past, the FCI is refusing to budge.
In 2011-12, FCI succumbed to pressure from millers and politicians and relaxed standards. Later, during inspection, 89,900 metric tonnes of rice was found “beyond rejection limit’’ (BRL) and, therefore, discarded. Sudip Singh, FCI general manager for UP, said that more than a hundred employees and officials were chargesheeted for making the purchases.
This year, FCI has refused to wilt. “Our employees are facing life threat at purchase centres. We receive such reports daily, but we have decided not to accept sub-standard rice. We may leave the centre but will not follow their dictates,” said S P Singh, general secretary of the FCI Employees Union.
The quality norms followed by the FCI are uniform across the country. It accepts damaged rice (black spots) up to 3 per cent, broken up to 25 per cent, moisture content up to 14 per cent and husk up
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