he BJP accused the Telangana state government of siphoning off 1.90 lakh tonnes of rice purportedly drawn from the Centre to distribute among the poor. (Representational Image: PTI)
Hyderabad: The BJP accused the Telangana state government of siphoning off 1.90 lakh tonnes of rice purportedly drawn from the Centre to distribute among the poor under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, a scheme that seeks to provide 5 kg rice free to the poor, launched after the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.
The party’s Lok Sabha member from Nizamabad, Arvind Dharmapuri, said the nearly two lakh tonnes of rice was lifted by Telangana, after the state issued orders suspending the PMGKAY programme. He said this large quantity of rice was not distributed to the poor. "The rice was taken in April and May this year after it scrapped the central free rice distribution programme. The Chief Minister must answer the question as to what happened to this whopping amount of rice," Aravind said. He said the result of this episode was that the Food Corporation of India (FCI) declared that it would no longer procure rice from Telangana under the decentralised procurement plan.
Aravind said the FCI, in a letter to the Telangana State Civil Supplies Corporation, on June 7, also pointed out that there were no accounts for 18,621 rice bags from 12 mills for the rabi 2020-21 crop, another 1,19,251 bags from the 2021-22 kharif crop from 51 mills. In addition, the FCI pointed out that in 593 mills in which the corporation verified stocks, the rice bags were stacked in such a way they could not be counted.
Aravind said these unaccounted for rice bags were in addition to the 4,53,896 rice bags that the FCI had previously found missing from rice mills in Telangana. What happened to all this rice, he asked. He alleged that all the missing rice from the state was diverted to the black market under the nose of the Chief Minister and his son and minister K.T. Rama Rao.
In a letter on October 4, 2021, the Civil Supplies Corporation had assured the FCI that there would be no more instances of missing rice bags, or improper stacking of bags but these assurances were not followed up, Aravind said.
He said the Chief Minister, minister Rama Rao and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar had to reveal what happened to the missing rice bags and the assurances. The Chief Minister also had to answer how he is responsible for the FCI declaring that it would stop procurement of rice from the state now in the wake of the lifting of 1.9 lakh tonnes of rice by the state that was not distributed to the poor, Aravind said.