· Terms Sukhbir Badal’s demand of CBI probe as unwarranted
· Delayed and decomposed pulses supplied by Union Government main reasons for delay in distribution
Chandigarh, May 23
Due to end to end computerization implemented by the Punjab Government, the department was successful in stamping out any possibility of grain pilferage during the distribution of foodgrains and pulses to the beneficiaries of PMGKAY under the Punjab National Food Security Act.
It was disclosed by Punjab Food & Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Mr. Bharat Bhushan Ashu here today.
Terming the Shiromani Akali Dal President Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal’s demand of CBI probe as ridiculous, Mr. Ashu said that these types of demands are just gimmicks aiming to gain political mileage.
Describing the demand for probe as absurd, Mr. Ashu said that the instructions of the government had been strictly adhered to during the distribution of foodgrains and no one from the congress party worker or leaders had any role in this distribution.
Responding to a query raised by Mr. Sukhbir Badal on the delay in distribution of grain and pulses, the Minister said that a letter was written on April 1, 2020 to the Union Government requesting them to expedite the delivery of pulses.
However on our part, Punjab Government had immediately got released the wheat quota allocated to it by centre by from FCI, he added.
He disclosed that the main reason for impediment in distribution was delayed supply of pulses by NAFED and bad quality pulses supplied by them.
“We have received various complaints from many districts of the state including Mohali that pulses supplied by Union Government is not suitable for human consumption. We took immediate action and consignment of pulses were sent back from various places, he said adding that the first consignment of pulses was received on April 13th this year, which was 42 MT and despite all this the department had started distribution on 18th April 2020 in 18 out of 22 districts of the state.
He stated that the state had received only 2646 metric tonnes of pulses by 30th April and started distribution in all the districts of the state. He said that out of the total pulses received at Patiala, 45 metric tonnes of pulses were sent back to Central Pool due to the poor quality. Similarly in Mohali, dal was reported to be not suitable for human consumption as it contained pigeon droppings .
Food Supply Minister also informed that pulses supplied in Jalandhar district had foreign matters higher than the stipulated norms, because of which the shipment was sent back to NAFED.
He also said that Punjab had been allotted 10800 metric tonnes of pulses and till date only 10427.5 tonnes of pulses have been received.
Mr. Ashu said that his department had written a letter to the Central Government on May 9, 2020 about the slow pace of delivery of dals and demanded that the remaining 50 per cent pulses of Punjab be sent as soon as possible. He informed that the distribution work would be completed by May 31, 2020. He said that despite all these difficulties, the Punjab government had distributed wheat and pulses to more than 55% beneficiaries in the state and complete information is available on the state e-Pos portal.
Food and Civil Supply Minister apprised that the department has completed 84 percent supply of foodgrains under PMGKY in Rupnagar, 81 per cent in Fatehgarh Sahib, 79 per cent in Ludhiana, 76 per cent in Faridkot, 71 per cent in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, 70 per cent in Jalandhar, 69 per cent in Mansa and Kapurthala.
Questioning the seriousness of SAD President Mr. Sukhbir Badal, Mr. Ashu said that he (Sukhbir) hasn’t taken up the matter of delayed supply with Union Government yet. He dared Mr Badal to respond to the people of Punjab about the use of central funds sent for the end-to-end computerization of the public distribution system. He questioned why the SAD-BJP government had not executed it during its tenure and why the public distribution system had not been computerized in their term. “They (Akalis) just want ambiguity in the system which is suitable for embezzlement” said Ashu.
The Minister said that as soon as the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh came to power in 2017, he undertook end-to-end computerization of the distribution process which was a massive task and constructive step of the government to provide a corruption free system.
He said that if Mr. Sukhbir Badal is really sympathetic towards the people of Punjab then he should demand the CBI probe of Rs. 31000 crore scam happened during the tenure of SAD-BJP government.