An RTI filed by activist Ajay Bose has found that the Central Railway's catering department has purchased food items for much more than their Market Retail Price.
A response to Bose's first appeal, made after he filed his RTI application, reveals that each kilogram of Amul curd had been purchased for Rs 9,720 reported The Hindu.
Ajay Bose to The HinduI filed the application in July 2016, but didn’t get a reply from Central Railway. It appeared they wanted to cover something up. I filed an appeal and the appellate authority showcaused the railways, asking them to provide details sought by me within 15 days. Despite this, there was no reply even after several months.
Bose alleges that the Railways is incurring loss due to expenditure accruing from these scams.
The reply also revealed a discrepancy in distribution of the food items. According to The Hindu, 250 kg of flour was purchased for Rs 7,680, but the railways claimed to have distributed 450 kg. In another instance, 35 kg of maida was supposedly distributed, while only 20 kg was purchased.
Indian Railways’ Response
In a series of tweets, the Ministry of Railways offered a clarification, adding that Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an "immediate enquiry on reports of overpricing".
The Railways also advocated methods of 'E-Procurement' for all kinds of contracts –goods, works and services and monitoring of budget implementation through 'E-Samiksha', an online system.
4/100% E-procurement solution Implemented for all kinds of contracts–goods, works & services, It's India’s largest e-procurement system pic.twitter.com/JTRuEzvtqn— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) May 2, 2017
Responding to allegations that 100 grams of curd had been bought for Rs 972, the Railways said:
This info is incorrect, Rs972 is for a carton of 108 cups of curd 100gm each ie 10.8kg each carton means 97.2 per kg, oil is 15 lit tin https://t.co/UKXintMMst— Central Railway (@Central_Railway) May 2, 2017
Three Railways officials have been suspended and one officer is being transferred with immediate effect, said the Ministry of Railways, adding that the Railway Board has taken a very serious view of the RTI.