BHUBANESHWAR: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has rapped the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department for showing undue favour to private rice millers for custom milling of paddy despite huge arrears pending against them.
Performance audit of the department by the premier audit agency has detected that 211 millers of six out of eight test checked districts having no licenses from competent authorities were allowed to mill paddy for delivery of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
As many as 1,523 rice mills operating in the state. The rice millers are required to get license from the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Inspector of Factories and Boilers (IF&B) and Regulated Market Committee (RMC) for operating their mills.
In case of 769 mills, validity of SPCB license has expired as on September 1, 2014 while 904 have invalid IF&B certificates and 565 mills have no appoval from RMCs concerned.
"In three cases, despite default in delivery of 2,594 tonnes of custom milled rice (CMR) valued at Rs 5.44 crore, personal property of the millers could not be attached as per terms and conditions of the agreement due to non-availability of property details," the CAG report for General and Social Sector for year ending March 2015 said.
It further detected that short delivery of 72,000 tonnes CMR during 2010-15 from the test checked districts namely Bargarh Ganjam, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Sambalpur, Sundargarh and
Rayagada. Though the cost of the rice was valued at Rs 168.56 crore, only Rs 3.38 crore has been recovered.
"There was also misappropriation of 11,243 tonnes of paddy valuing Rs 40.78 crore by 20 millers in three of these districts," the report said.
Authorised agency procured excess paddy than that of marketable surplus. About 17,982 quintals of paddy were procured from 44 farmers who have no agricultural land.
Taking serous objection to arbitrary reduction of 2 to 4 kg of paddy on the plea that the paddy quality is below fair average quality (FAQ), the audit report said an estimated quantity of 2.51 lakh tonnes of paddy worth Rs 305.17 crore was unduly passed onto the millers during 2010-15 at the cost of the farmers.