Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Pratap Keshari Deb on Wednesday assured the Assembly that stringent action will be taken against those found guilty in the March 14 PDS wheat diversion case.
“We are going deep into the matter. Once investigation is over, action will be taken as per provisions of the law including the Odisha Public Distribution (OPD) Act,” Deb said.
Replying to an admissibility of adjournment motion, the Minister said the Government came to know about the nine missing trucks carrying
subsidised wheat meant for public distribution from FCI godown at Jatni on March 16, two days after the trucks left for the destination.
Stating that five of the 14 trucks loaded with wheat reached the rice receiving centre (RRC) at Khurda the same say, the Minister said the other nine trucks reached on March 18.
He further said only one out of the nine trucks was genuine while the rest did not match with registration numbers at the FCI godown from where the PDS wheat was lifted.
Meanwhile, FIR has been lodged against Bijay Kumar Agarwal, the transporting contractor engaged by the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation and his transporting contract has been terminated.
It has been detected that the eight trucks had 1,890 gunny bags containing 929.03 quintals of wheat while the FCI record shows that 1,880 bags (931.55 quintals) were despatched. There was a shortage of 2.52 quintals of wheat, the Minister said.
Alleging that blackmarketing of PDS items is rampant in the State, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan sought to know as to why criminal proceedings have not been initiated against the civil supplies officials responsible for the lapse.
Santosh Singh Saluja, Naba Kishore Das and Duryodhan Gardia of the Congress asked the Minister what his department was doing when the trucks were missing for four days. Saluja alleged that Sudhansu Nayak, a senior officer of the corporation who visited the spot, tried to suppress the matter.
Stating that Khurda incident is a tip of the ice berg, Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi asked the Minister why Agarwal is not arrested.