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SC directs Centre to check PDS scam

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 19 (UNI) Taking exception to lack of effective steps to check the illegal diversion of subsidised wheat and rice allotted for distribution through public distribution system (PDS) the Supreme Court today directed the Centre to file an affidavit within four weeks detailing the steps taken by it to check the menace and corruption.

A Bench, comprising Mr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Mr Justice S H Kapadia, issued directions on a petition filed by Uttar Pradesh Roller Flourmillers Association.

The petitioners have alleged that the subsidised wheat and rice allotted to the states of West Bengal and Assam for distribution through PDS to the people living below poverty line (BPL) was being illegally diverted to the flourmills.

The wheat allotted by the Centre at the subdised rate of Rs 610 per quintal was being sold by these mill owners, after converting it into maida etc at the market rate of Rs 900-950 per quintal, the petition stated.

The state government is giving subsidy of Rs 315 per quintal.

The petitioners have also contended that it showed an ''unholy nexus'' between the concerned officials and the mill owners. The people belonging to BPL category are being denied the supply of cheaper and subsidised foodgrains meant for them.

The concerned state government was openly flouting the instructions of the Centre that the subsidised foodgrains being given under PDS cannot be sold to mill owners, they added.

The Court, expressed dissatisfaction with the explanation given by the Central government through Additional Solicitor General B Dutta, directed the Centre to inform it of steps taken to check the malpractices prevalent in the PDS with active connivance of the concerned department officials.

The petitioner association, which has about 146 mill owners as members, have alleged that illegal diversions of such subsidised cereals into the black market was causing heavy losses to its members.

UNI AKS/SC AD HT1728

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