Somaiya seeks MHRC's help to curb inferior wheat distribution

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Mumbai, Oct 5 (UNI) Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former MP Kirit Somaiya today urged the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to prevail upon the State Government to stop distributing ''inferior quality, unhygienic red imported wheat''.

Talking to reporters here Mr Somaiya said one crore tonnes of wheat, valued at Rs 10,000 crore, had been imported and 70 lakh tonnes had already arrived in India. Of these, 15 per cent were being sent to Maharashtra.

Mr Somaiya has petitioned the MHRC jointly with Madhukar Khutade and Harischandra Bhoye of Scheduled Tribe of Thane district. The 82-page petition is supported by eleven annexures/documents. The petitioners contended that consumption of inferior quality wheat had led to health problems among the economically-deprived sections.

The petitioners have also urged the Commission to ask the state government to submit reports of the tests conducted by the Kokan Bhavan Public Health Laboratory.

The petitioners had made Government of Maharashtra, Chief Secretary, secretaries of Civil Supplies Ministry and Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, collectors and rationing officers of Mumbai, Thane, Dule, Parbhani, Nandurbar and other districts as respondents to the petition.

The petitioners pointed out that the Maharashtra Government had issued instructions in April 2007 not to distribute red imported wheat. The petitioners also annexed the laboratory report of State Health Laboratory of Konkan Bhavan that the imported wheat distributed through the public distribution system did not conform to norms.

The petitioners had also attached the report of State Government's Pune laboratory which also stated that the imported wheat, distributed through ration shops, was not fit for human consumption.

In April 2007, the Mumbai Rationing Controller had submitted a laboratory report to the state government stating that 229 out of 265 samples were found unfit for human consumption following which the government had issued the order not to distribute such wheat.

The petitioners submitted documentary evidence to the Human Rights Commission that despite such instructions, the sale and distribution of imported wheat continued in Mumbai, Thane and other parts of Maharashtra.

The Rationing Controller of Mumbai had informed Mr Somaiya that during April and May 2007, the distribution of imported wheat was stopped. But it restarted from June 2007. As much as 9363 tonnes of imported wheat were being sold/distributed through ration shops under various schemes like ''Antyodaya'' and ''Annapurna''.

UNI

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