Shillong, June 15: Food Corporation of India (FCI), Regional Manager PN Singh said on Tuesday that the FCI has nothing to do with the seizure of rice in Assam.
“We issue release order of rice under Wheat Based Nutrition Programme (WBNP) to Director of Social Welfare Department. We have allotted the rice for this quarter (April to June) also”, Singh said.
According to Singh, the role of FCI is limited and it has nothing to do with matter related to seizure of rice in Assam.
He said after the release order, it is the state government’s responsibility to lift the rice.
On Monday, Social Welfare Director, DD Shira said the Centre allots rice under the WBNP and the directorate then allocates it to the approved manufacturer Continental Milkose Ltd which was lifted from the FCI godown.
The official said the manufacturer processes the rice into a variety of ready-to-eat fortified food products in the factory and they are supplied to the Anganwadi Centres under the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP).
According to the official, there has been no instance of non-supply of food items and complete indented quantities have been received.
However, the official added that the department is awaiting an official letter from the investigation officer, Assam for inquiry and further appropriate action against the supplier.
Earlier there were reports that the rice was under NFSA and Covid relief.
Later on Tuesday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that there is no scam in the implementation of supplementary nutrition programme by the social welfare department.
He made the statement in response to the allegations of ‘rice scam.’
Speaking to reporters, Sangma said the particular rice is not part of the NFSA or the rice meant for Covid-19 relief that is being given by the Centre.
He said there has been a confusion that the rice is meant for Covid-19 relief and that it has been kept and diverted.
“However, the fact is that all those rice materials for Covid-19 relief and NFSA have already been received in advance for the entire month of June,” Sangma added.
The chief minister also clarified the Continental Milkose Pvt Ltd, which is an approved manufacturing supplier of micronutrient and energy-dense fortified foods under the SNP, has been supplying the products to the state for the first quarter of the current financial year.
“The complete supply of these micronutrient energy-dense fortified foods has already been received by the state,” he said.
The chief minister said one lakh bags of rice were not found as the actual quantity was 1,604 metric tones (33,000 bags).
The chief minister admitted that the rice is supplied by FCI and it is processed and mixed with other nutrition items. Later, it is packed and distributed to the children.
The chief minister urged the press and NGOs to get all the facts before coming up with reports to avoid confusion among the citizens of the state.
“It is something not healthy which in a way is also embarrassing for the press and other organisations when they find out that there is no truth in this. Therefore, to avoid this kind of embarrassment, I would urge the press and other organisations to kindly ensure proper research is done before such stories come out in the news as there is no base of any kind of scam that is mentioned as everything is done as per the rules, norms and also as per the quality required by Centre,”he added.
The chief minister, however, said the state government has asked the company to give an explanation on the incident.