M A I N   N E W S

Atta-dal scheme takes off from back door
Markfed godowns in Banur, Dera Bassi sealed
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Banur/Dera Bassi, August 4
The Vigilance Bureau today checked and sealed Markfed godowns in Banur and Dera Bassi following information that wheat stocked there for the atta-dal scheme was being pilfered and sold in the open market. Markfed had recently stocked about one lakh sacks of wheat in these godowns for distribution to the beneficiaries of the atta-dal scheme. Each sack is supposed to weigh 50 kg.

Two teams of the bureau spent the day counting and weighing wheat sacks. While at the Dera Bassi godown everything was reported to be in order, at the Banur godown, many bags were found to be less than the stipulated 50 kg. Some bags were found to weigh 25 kg only, according to sources.

SSP Vigilance, Patiala, Shiv Kumar said they had sealed the godowns, based on information regarding pilferage. Two teams had been deputed to verify the information. No case has been registered, he said.

The vigilance team at Banur, led by DSP Anil Sharma, had sealed the three Markfed godowns here late last night and began counting and weighing of sacks this afternoon with the help of local labour. Out of the total 70,000 sacks stored in these godowns, only a 1,000 bags could be checked till 8 pm tonight at one godown. Out of these, almost 30 bags were found to be substantially less than 50 kg.

Sources added that every third sack here was found to be less than 50 kg but a little shortfall in each bag was attributed to evaporation of the moisture contained in the wheat when it is freshly procured.

A labourer Jagir Singh, working at the godown for the past decade, told mediapersons and the vigilance officers at the spot that he and other labourers were asked by certain Markfed officials to enter the godown each day and to open the stitching of the sacks and take out wheat.

DSP Anil Sharma, however, said no formal statements had been recorded so far. He said today only a part of a single block of stacked bags was checked and it could take two more days before the entire stock would be scrutinised.

Godown custodian Naseeb Singh and the Markfed chief manager (food grains) Varinder Singh remained at the spot through the day.

The other team of the bureau led by DSP Roop Singh checked the Dera Bassi godown, where over 25,000 sacks were stacked. Though Roop Singh said they were still working on the counting and weighing, sources said the bureau had not found anything fishy here and finished its work.

Ironically all these godowns fall in the constituency of the Punjab cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh.



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