A high-level departmental inquiry will be carried out into the incident in which a dead rat and other waste materials were found in a sack of rice meant for preparing meals for students of the Medical College Campus Higher Secondary School, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob has said.
Speaking to mediapersons after visiting the school here on Friday, the minister said that this was for the first time such an incident had happened. However, the government considers this as a serious issue and will definitely take action against those who supplied rat-infested rice to the school. SupplyCo has given direction to take only machine-stitched sacks for supply of rice from the FCI, he added.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has already presented the case of lack of storage facilities at FCI godowns before the Union Government in a meeting held recently.
“The Union Government has given clearance for setting up huge storage silos in Kochi and Kozhikode under the FCI,” said Anoop Jacob. In these silos, 50,000 tonnes of wheat could be stored. The state government has directed the Kozhikode District Collector to find an appropriate 3.5 acres land in the district for setting up silos.
In reply to a question, Anoop Jacob admitted that the state lacks efficient storage capacities to preserve food grains as prescribed by the Government of India. “We have to develop more intermediary godown spaces for effective storage of food grains,” he added.
“The department is lifting as much quantity of food grains and there is no issue of rotten rice and wheat lying in the open at FCI godowns,” he added.
The minister held talks with school authorities and examined the kitchen where the food is prepared and also the storeroom where rice sacks are preserved. Giving a message that there is nothing to be concerned about, he had his noon meal at the school kitchen. A dead rat, beedi stubs, stones and other waste materials were found in a sack of rice meant for preparing meals at the school on Monday. A total of 1,018 students in the school are taking mid-day meals in the school every day.
Earlier, Anoop Jacob visited the Koduvally depot of SupplyCo, which manages the Maveli Store at Poovattuparamba from where the rice was supplied to the school. District Supply Officer T P Kammad Kutty, SupplyCo Regional Manager M Vijayan, Assistant Regional Manager Raveendran K and SupplyCo Koduvally Depot Manager M Raveendran also accompanied the minister. After this, he visited the FCI godown at West Hill also.