Centre, Delhi govt in war of words over poor quality foodgrains distributed from fair price shops

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New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Centre has sought an action-taken report from the Delhi government over poor quality of foodgrains distributed from fair price shops in the city during the COVID-19 lockdown period.

But Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain on Friday claimed that the issue of 'rotten' grains received from the Centre was raised immediately and a complaint lodged with it.

The development comes amid the Centre's objection to the Kejriwal government's plan to deliver rations at doorsteps of eligible beneficiaries of the public distribution system.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, in a communication dated March 18, reminded the Food department of the Delhi government regarding 'various discrepancies' found during an inspection of fair price shops in Delhi region.

Earlier, in October 2020, in a letter to the Delhi chief secretary, the ministry had sought an action-taken report from him.

The letter had stated that a survey of 71 fair price shops in Delhi was conducted by the ministry's five teams of Department of Food and Public Distribution officials in August and September 2020.

A total of 138 samples were collected (70 wheat, 68 rice) which were analysed by the Central Grain Analysis Laboratory.

'Ninety samples out of 138 were found to be beyond rejection limit (BRL) as per the uniform specifications of foodgrain, including 42 samples (18 samples of wheat and 24 samples of rice) which were found beyond the FSSAl standards which were unfit for human consumption,' the letter stated.

The ministry had also cited 'various discrepancies' and 'serious negligence', and requested the Delhi chief secretary for instituting a time-bound inquiry into the whole matter and take necessary action against those found guilty.

It had also asked for 'systemic improvements' to avoid recurrence of the 'lapse' and sought an action-taken report.

Hussain said the matter was raised with the Union minister concerned and the 'rotten' grain was returned.

'During last year's lockdown, we had immediately complained to the Centre about the rotten ration we received from them. I even wrote a letter to the concerned Union Minister, demanding immediate action. Simultaneously, we had returned the rotten ration,' he said in a statement.

The Delhi government has been serious about the quality of cereals and pulses available under the ration scheme. It does not tolerate any irresponsibility or laxity regarding the quality of rations coming from the Centre's godowns, added the minister. PTI VIT IJT