Probe into kerosene blackmarketing in MP

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Bhopal, Mar 12 (UNI) Madhya Pradesh Food Minister Akhand Pratap Singh today announced in the Assembly that a comprehensive inquiry would be conducted by April 15 into complaints of irregularities at fair price shops in Bhind district and blackmarketing of foodgrain and kerosene allotted under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Replying to a call attention notice by Dr Govind Singh (Congress), the Minister assured that five-day camps would be conducted to look into aspects. Action would be taken against the Sub-Divisional Officer, Lahar, who allegedly allotted fair price shops against rules.

Quoting a letter by Principal Secretary (Food) M K Rai to the District Collector admitting blackmarketing of about 8 lakh litres of kerosene from a total monthly allotment of 12 lakh l, the Minister said that the missive was based on a Home Department letter.

Dr Singh welcomed Mr Singh's efforts to check corruption in the Food Department but warned that he might have to face a fate similar to that of Chhattisgarh Minister Nankiram Kanwar (Bharatiya Janata Party), who was sacked from the Raman Singh ministry after he ''attempted to check'' corruption. ''The people are with you for your daring act,'' he added.

Mr Singh responded by saying that he had no fear of losing the ministerial position. ''All wrong doing, including those committed during the Congress regime, will be undone,'' he promised. Action would also be taken against the Sub-Divisional Officer, he added.

Alleging rampant corruption in the Food Department, Dr Singh said that the PDS collapsed in Bhind and it was evident from the Principal Secretary's letter.

Several ration shops were 'attached' to other shops several km away. An individual was given 4,000 l kerosene every month against lawyers' quota and it was being blackmarketed, he said, adding that several villages were not getting subsidised foodgrain and kerosene for five months.

UNI SP AC 1642

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