VIJAYAWADA: The Civil Supplies Department has come up with an initiative of conducting an age test on the grain to check the malpractice of mixing old rice with fresh stock. The process was implemented on a pilot basis by the department in the last two seasons.
Recently, the Union Ministry of Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs approved the adoption of the policy across the country. Orders were also issued to conduct age tests on the grain before transporting it to the godowns in other parts of the country.
Civil Supplies Corporation Director G Veerapandian said at several places, the middle men were shifting the subsidised rice to the black market and making money out of it. Some rice millers are also purchasing subsidised rice and sending it to the civil supplies and FCI godowns after polishing it. As the rice is stored for a long time, the “adulterated” rice is getting spoiled very fast. Taking a serious note of the matter, the state government introduced an age test on the grain last season.
Veerapandian said after procuring grains from the farmers, rice will be made at the mills and later the grains will be stored in the godowns. Before that, the department is conducting quality tests at the godowns. As many as 580 bags (29 tonnes) will be considered as a lot and samples are collected in the presence of millers. If the grains turned green or light green during the testing, they are considered fresh. The load will be sent back to the millers if the grains fail the age test.
Veerapandian said methyl red, brothymol blue and ethyl alcohol are mixed with water for preparing a special solvent used for testing. Then 10 ml of the special solvent is mixed with the sample rice in a test tube. After a minute, if the grains turned into green it is considered fresh. If it turns light green, the grains are milled one to two months ago, if it turns yellow colour, the grain’s age is three months and if it turns orange, the grain’s age is four to five months.
After milling the grains, artificial intelligence will be used to determine colour and moisture content. The value of this machine is around `13 lakh. Apart from the civil supplies office, the machine will be made available at Vijayawada, Eluru, Kakinada, Vijayanagaram, Srikakulam and Nellore.