HYDERABAD: Rice is procured by the civil supplies department from farmers, rice mills and Food Corporation of India (FCI), and sold to people at subsidised price of Rs 1 per kg.
While this should be the ideal Public Distribution System (PDS), the same rice is being sold back to the department at Rs 23 per kg and FCI. In short, rice sold at Rs 1 per kg through ration shops is sold back to civil supplies department at Rs 23 per kg.
Apart from that, the essential commodity is vended to other states like Mumbai, Gujarat. It is sold to other countries by exporting through Kakinada, Gujarat, and Mumbai ports. Also, the same rice is sold in markets at higher prices.
In a month-long investigation taken up by Cyberabad police Special Operations Team (SOT), it was found that ration shop dealers, rice mill owners, traders, transport contractors, officials of the civil supplies department, were involved in the pilferage which costs Rs 16 crore per month in Ranga Reddy district alone.
However, this is not a case of multiple parties conspiring to loot people. In what fails the popular assumption that people are the victims of the scams, even beneficiaries of the subsidised rice were found to play a role in routing the rice back to the department.
Besides rice, other essential commodities likes sugar, kerosene were also procured and sold through illegal means.
Cyberabad police commisisoner CV Anand said that in the raids conducted by SOT, 971 quintals of rice and 37,385 litres of kerosene were seized.
Earlier, culprits caught by SOT were handed over to the civil supplies department. “It was observed that it is not deterring the crime. So we started to book cases under IPC section 402 (Cheating) and 406 (Breach of trust),” Anand said.
Amrapali Kata, joint collector of Ranga Reddy district, who was present at the press meet said that every month they register at least 30 cases related to such pilferage.