Telangana to pay Rs 50 crore excess for anganwadi eggs

Update: 2023-03-08 18:30 GMT
The eggs were sold to retailers and food service operators in plastic pails and could be used in products like salads. (Photo: AP)

Hyderabad: It is official. The Telangana state government will end up paying an excessive amount of at least Rs 50 crore to five egg suppliers, who formed a cartel and grabbed the contract to supply eggs to anganwadi centres.

Save for the intervention of the Telangana High Court, the government, by now, would be procuring eggs from the cartel. The cartel succeeded in convincing the women and child welfare minister Satyavathi Rathod to drastically bring down the number of present 120 small and marginal poultry farmers, limiting the supplies to seven top players.

The move was, however, challenged in the High Court, which ruled continuation of the present supply system till further orders. Companies that formed the cartel and quoted excess prices include Nitisha Farms, J.V. Farms, Rajitha Poultry, Srinivasa Poultry and Siri Farms. The first two companies are owned by NECC, Telangana state, president J. Sanjeev Reddy.

“These five companies colluded with each other and filed tenders for which the tailor-made conditions were formulated by the state agencies concerned. If one company is the lowest bidder for one zone, the other would be second-lowest and vice versa,” alleged K. Mohan Reddy, general secretary of Telangana Poultry Federation, in a memorandum submitted to Satyavathi Rathod.

The cartel got a price of Rs 5.67 per egg.

The re-tendering of one zone brought to the fore the excessive rate quoted by the cartel. In the re-tender for the Gadwal zone, Balreddy Hatcheries quoted Rs 5.08 per egg, which is 59 paise less than the cartel’s rate.

The federation also alleged that the cartel members were in full knowledge of the tender conditions and obtained Agmark certification, which was made mandatory in tenders, in September last year, two months before the tenders were called for.

Farmers also expressed concern over allowing 45-gram eggs, against the previous size of 50 grams, as the former will have less protein value.

Similarly, there is a shortage of 45-gram eggs in Telangana and the cartel has been planning to import them from other states. Dumping small-size eggs in the Telangana market will hit the local poultry industry, the federation pointed out.

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