(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 27, 2011
Contaminated Grains Being Supplied in Adivasi Areas
WHILE old stocks of foodgrains which are contaminated and inedible are being given to adivasi areas through the public distribution system (PDS), the newer stocks are being kept for exports, Brinda Karat, member of parliament and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, told the union food minister K V Thomas on February 21.
Showing to the minister the samples of contaminated rice collected from adivasi areas in Andhra Pradesh, she said inedible wheat and rice was being supplied in many adivasi areas across the country. She said that the samples of rice and wheat collected from adivasi areas in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh were found contaminated. Top officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), including its head Siraj Hussain, were present when Brinda Karat met the minister.
The minister expressed shock at the poor quality visible in the samples. He agreed that the inspection system and quality control have to be strengthened. He admitted that the system of inspections might have been affected because of the ongoing ban on recruitment of quality inspectors. There were vacancies indeed but it was going to take some time to fill them up. He also agreed that spot checks of the FCI godowns were required and asked the officials to ensure that this was done.
On this occasion, the FCI chairman said that contamination could take place at different levels including the state level and therefore it would not be correct to hold the FCI alone as responsible. He agreed that as far as wheat is concerned, it was being stored in the open because of large stocks but as for rice he denied that there was any open storage. He said the entire stock was there in covered godowns. He, however, admitted that the old stocks of 2008 were still being distributed.