Hyderabad: Rice available through the public distribution system (PDS) is meant for the poor and supplied through ration shops at just Rs 1 per kg. But, instead, much of it is feeding beer companies in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu who use it to manufacture beer.
Instead of purchasing rice in the open market for a higher price of Rs 50 per kg or more, beer manufacturers buy the PDS rice from brokers for Rs 30 per kg. Ration dealers, civil supplies godowns and rice millers are complicit in this illegal diversion of subsidised rice.
Raids carried out by vigilance teams of the civil supplies department recently on rice mills in Nagarkurnool revealed how large quantities of PDS rice was being diverted to beer manufacturers.
It was also revealed that PDS rice is making its way to poultry farms and poultry feed manufacturers.
The government has decided to attach the properties of the rice millers found to be engaged in this activity by invoking RR Act (Revenue Recovery Act), and recover the losses caused to the government.
Criminal cases have been filed against two rice mills in Nagarkurnool — Srinivasa Rice Mill and Venkateshwara Rice Industries.
Civil Supplies Commissiner Mr C.V. Anand, who ordered the raids, said, “After the E-PoS system was introduced on a pilot basis in all ration shops in Hyderabad last year, it became difficult for dealers to divert PDS rice. We are extending this facility to all districts. Anticipating trouble on account of E-PoS system, unscrupulous elements are trying to divert the stocks from godowns and rice mills. We received confidential information on these irregularities. Vigilance teams were rushed to districts to conduct raids, which caught the scamsters red-handed.”
Some millers went to the extent of changing the name of their mills to confuse the authorities....