Taking a serious note of attempts of recycling Public distribution system rice meant for the poor into the milling process, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Food & Civil Suppy Minister Punjab ordered a surprise check in 10 rice mills in Ferozepur. The raids unearthed 91,000 bags of rice hoarded by 4 mills in the area.The Chief Vigilance Officer of the department led the raids and found that Mahalaxmi Rice Mills Ferozepur had hoarded 110000 bags paddy of last year equivalent of 55275 bags of rice, Cereal Food Exports Ferozepur had 58000 bags paddy of last year equivalent to 29145 bags of rice and Ferozepur food exports had 2700 bags of rice while Shree Sham Ji Industries Barnala had 1200 bags rice. Apparently, these rice mills must have procured PDS rice bought in black market last year from other states and saved it to recycle it in the coming milling season by showing bogus procurement of the crop through fictitious billing for the same.
On unearthing such a huge scam, the Minister ordered the department of Food & Civil Supplies to be more vigilant and said that “no fictitious billing what so ever will be permitted in the State”. He said that the Captain Amarinder Singh led government will not let any deceitful elements to cause financial losses to the State by their corrupt practices. He said that the department has already introduced many reforms like CIBIL score being a parameter for allotment of a mill and taking bank guarantee from millers to safeguard the interest of the department.In the meanwhile the department handed over the details of the unscrupulous millers to the Mandi Board as well as the Sales Tax Department for further legal action as per the law.The department is also contemplating the cancellation of registration of millers who indulge in malpractices.