"It was the responsibility of the Railways and the Food Corporation of India (FCI)-the original owner of the rice, to ensure that the damaged foodstuff is destroyed properly so that it doesn't find its way to the kitchens of the people or are consumed even by animals," a district civil supply official said adding the local administration had no role in it.
Although, people had even sold the retrieved rice at Rs 10 per kg in slum areas, District Collector SN Girish when contacted last night said he was not aware of any such developments. "I have not received any such information yet. (If found true) We will definitely stop it," Girish said.
A wagon-load of rice belonging to FCI had arrived here in Dec 2011 from Kesinga in Kalahandi district. Upon examination, the quality control team of the FCI had certified that all the 1200 hundred bags of rice, weighing over 600 quintals were unfit for human consumption.
Since the FCI had indented the rice in Apr 2010 and had booked the railway wagon for direct transportation of the stock from Kesinga to Cuttack, it took more than 20 months for the Railways to cover the distance of 350 kms. Since the foodstuff was insured, the Railways paid the damage to the FCI and took the responsibility to destroy the damaged foodstuff.
"The manner in which the Railways disposed off the damaged foodstuff was outrageous, which invites stringent action against the erring officials," said senior CPI(M) leader Subash Singh.