Tuesday, February 22, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Inedible wheat auctioned
From Raj Sadosh

ABOHAR: The Punjab State Civil Supplies Corporation (Punsup) had recently auctioned 25 lakh bags of non-commercial wheat which totally unfit for human consumption. This was alleged in a memorandum submitted by a voluntary organisation to the Prime Minister and other senior functionaries of the central and state governments.

Mr Sat Pal Khariwal, chairman of Consumer Movement, said more than five lakh bags of damaged wheat had been supplied to flour mills of Ferozepore division. These bags had been lying at Punsup godowns at Fazilka, Jalalabad, Guruharsahai, Talwandi and Zira towns. The stocks had been damaged due to rain and lack of care by the staff. Hundreds of bags were allowed to be stacked in the open without covering them by tarpaulins so as to gain moisture to increase the weight.

Mr Khariwal said Punsup had invited more offers for disposing of the wheat of extensively damaged quality not fit for human consumption. Even animals would suffer by consuming such rotten wheat. If such grains were allowed to be sold in the market as atta (flour), it would pose-serious health hazard to consumers. To safeguard the interests of the common people such stocks should be first tested from laboratories under strict supervision. It was regrettable that thousands of such wheat bags had already been processed by certain flour mills in different parts of the state. The organisation urged the state government to stop the sale of such products immediately. Under no circumstances should such flour be permitted to pass into the hands of the consumers, Mr Khariwal said.

The organisation chairman claimed that Punsup’s District Manager in his report submitted to headquarters had revealed that bags lying at godowns at Abohar and Guruharsahai were short in weight to the extent of 10 kg to 15 kg each.

He alleged that many cases of corruption and malpractices were pending at different levels but pressure had been executed to thwart action against the guilty.

He demanded a CBI inquiry into the working of this corporation to weed out corruption.

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