Bhopal: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led Madhya Pradesh (MP) government has ordered an inquiry in 48 out of 52 districts in the state over alleged irregularities in the distribution of 5.5 lakh quintals of ration worth Rs 118 crore, which was carried out over the past three months to alleviate the public’s distress because of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, an official said.
Though there is a centralised system of maintaining distribution record online, the distribution of 5.5 lakh quintals of ration remains unaccounted.
Tarun Pithode, director, state food and civil supplies department, said: “Discrepancies were found in the data. There is a mismatch between the allocation of wheat, rice and pulses and their distribution. We’re probing the non-accounting of distribution of ration. The collectors of 48 districts have been asked to submit a report on the unaccounted ration.”
He said further action would be taken after reports are received from all 48 districts, where the inquiry has been initiated.
Gwalior district collector (DC) Kaushlendra Singh said, “A probe is on to ascertain the discrepancy in the distribution of over 50,000 quintals of ration in the district.”
Food activists have jumped on the bandwagon, sniffing a major scam and also demanded a social audit.
“There is a standard operating protocol (SOP) in distributing ration. For instance, ration cardholders are entitled to receive ration after their fingerprints are authenticated. Non-ration cardholders are also entitled to avail of ration under Atmarirbhar Bharat Yojna and Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna on verification of their Aadhaar card details. There is no scope for the non-accounting of such a massive quantity of ration, ” said Sachin Jain, a food activist.
“I have a list of over 3,000 families, who were denied ration because of the non-availability of their identity proofs. The distribution process needs to be probed properly by the authorities concerned. This looks like a major scam amid the pandemic,” he added.
The opposition has also attacked the BJP-led state government.
MP Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) spokesperson KK Mishra asked, “How come the state government doesn’t have the data about such a massive quantity of ration, if it was following the SOP in its distribution?”
He alleged that the food mafia has gobbled up the poor people’s ration.
BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal came to the state government’s defence.
“A departmental inquiry has been ordered. In the BJP-led state government, both ration and food packets were distributed among the poor during the lockdown restrictions. Nobody went hungry in MP because of our government’s pro-active policies,” he said.