Somaiya poses ten questions to Pawar on wheat scam

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Mumbai, Sep 13 (UNI) Posing ten questions to Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar on the wheat scam, former BJP MP Dr Kirit Somaiya today asked him who will pay the additional hundreds of crores of rupees for importing wheat.

Dr Somaiya, in a release here, questioned whether the additional cost would be borne by the Minister himself, the Ministry or Tax Payers and who are the beneficiaries of the thousands of crores of the import Scam? He asked Mr Pawar why is there a disparity in the income for the Indian farmers and their foreign counterparts? Why do Indian farmers get Rs 8 per kg while foreigners Rs 16 per kg and in such a situation why import the crop at the rate of Rs 16 when the retail price is Rs 10 in India? Questioning the need of import, he said if production had increased from 69 million tonnes to 75 million tonnes why did the wheat procurement come down from 161 million to 92 million? He demanded to know whether it was the same for MNCs like Cargill and Glancore from which the wheat was imported, while the Government could have purchased better quality wheat at Rs 8 to Rs 9 in India in the last quarter and sought the information on whether the bidders, terms and conditions were the same in various import tenders of this year? Dr Somaiya asked the Minister to clarify what stand did the Project Engineering Corporation (PEU) take on import position at the Chicago Commodity Exchange and Food Council and whether NAFED had offered better quality of Indian wheat at less than Rs 11 kg? He also sought to know why did the UPA Government immediately place an import order at Rs 13.67 per kg for inferior quality of imported wheat when it had cancelled the earlier wheat import order of Rs 10.67 per kg.

The senior BJP leader alleged that the excuses given by Mr Pawar that Chicago Commodity Exchange and Food Council had given this advise was totally misleading.

Dr Somaiya challenged the Agriculture Ministry to produce all such reports and also questioned whether the Minister or the Ministry took the final decision? The government, after cancelling the earlier import order of 267 US Dollars per metric tonne in June, instructed the State Trading Corporation (STC) to issue a fresh tender. The new tender was issued at 325 US dollars on June 26, he said.

He also challenged the government to disclose the names, terms, rates and quantity offered by the bidders of all the tenders and import orders of this year, and whether the same MNCs had applied for the similar terms in all different tenders.

The government had paid almost double the amount to same MNCs in this year. Early this year, the rates were Rs 8 to Rs 9 per kg and the present tender price is Rs 16 per kg, he added.

In India, the customer gets the wheat at a retail rate of Rs 10 per kg. Then why is the government paying Rs 16 plus Rs 2 (transportation), that is Rs 18 per kg for imported wheat?, the BJP leader demanded.

Meanwhile, the Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) has registered Dr Somaiya's complaint on wheat scam and it has sent it to 'The Secretary Department of Food &Public Distribution for the Report on the Complaint', informed Dr Somaiya and added that on receipt of the report, the CVC would examine the matter for an appropriate action.


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