THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The food safety department is taking measures to keep a tab on the quality of vegetables reaching the city ahead of Onam but the same authority is least bothered about the quality of food at the ration shops.
The sale of low quality food grains is rampant in the city through the Public Distribution System (PDS), complaints about which haven’t reached the authorities. There were widespread allegations of selling of quality goods to private traders at high rates and selling low quality to the public through ration dealers, sources said.
One of the residents in the city took the initiative to expose the prevailing corruption and substantiated it with photographs of the stale food grains.
Ajay S Kumar, a degree student in the city, told ‘Express’ that many were at the receiving end and the authorities were maintaining silence over the repeated instances of stale food being given to the people. “It was revealed that the wheat supplied through ration shops contained small pebbles, sand and gravel. Small worms were found in the rice from ration shops,” he said.Ration shop owners, who pay money to the civil supplies department are forced to supply inedible food items to the public,” he said. When ‘Express’ contacted the ration dealers, they blamed it on the food safety authorities and Food Corporation Of India (FCI). A ration dealer who preferred anonymity said that the availability of low quality rice and wheat was not their fault.
“We sell the goods that we take from the Civil Supplies Department and Food Corporation of India; the allegations about selling the goods to private traders are false and are an attempt to sabotage the PDS in the state,” he said.“We are not the ones who stock the food for a long time in our godowns only to release it during the high demand time ahead of Onam,” said the ration dealer.
Kerala Congress(J) chairman and All Kerala Ration Dealers Association president Johnny Nellore said he would look into the issue on a warfooting. “It is rare phenomenon and has occurred due to bulk transportation; we are taking this matter seriously and will address it at the earliest,” he said. Food safety commissioner Anupama was unavailable for a comment.
A case in Point
Ajay S Kumar, a degree student in the city, told ‘Express’ that the authorities were maintaining silence over the repeated instances of stale food being given to the people. “Wheat supplied through ration shops contained small pebbles, sand and gravel. Small worms were found in the rice from ration shops,” he said.