Hundreds of starving people dug up to retrieve “inconsumable” rice dumped by the Railway authorities in a riverbed near here at Jagatpur.
The poor were seen taking home bagful of dirt-filled rice, declared unfit even for animal consumption even as the authorities put the onus on the Railways.
“It was the responsibility of the Railways and Food Corporation of India (FCI), the original owners 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 is 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, Girish S N, when contacted on Thursday night said that he was not aware of any such developments.
“I have not received any such information yet. (If found true) We will definitely stop it,” he said.
A wagon-load of rice belonging to FCI had arrived here in December 2011 from Kesinga in Kalahandi district.
Upon examination, the quality control team of the FCI had certified that all the 1,200 hundred bags of rice, weighing over 600 quintals was unfit for human consumption.
Since the FCI had indented the rice in April 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 km. Since the foodstuff was insured, Railways paid the damage to FCI and took the responsibility to destroy the damaged foodstuff.
“The manner in which the Railways disposed of the damaged foodstuff was also outrageous, which invites stringent action against the erring officials,” senior CPM leader, Subash Singh, said.