J&K

Mafia blocks fixing of CCTVs in ration depots, godowns

Srinagar: Many officials in Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (DFCSCA) have been creating hurdles in installation of CCTV cameras in ration depots and godowns in the state. An official of the DFCSCA said that government often receives reports about ration pilferage from its depots and godowns in the Valley. “The store keepers at many places have been indulging in black-marketing and government has so far failed to do much to stop the practice,” the official said.

Over the years, the official said that several scams have surfaced in the DFCSCA, which was earlier known as Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, causing huge loss to the state exchequer.

Since 2012, thousands of quintals of food items went missing in government godowns.

In 2013, a major scam surfaced when thousands of quintals of sugar was missing from DFCSCA godowns in Kashmir. The scam came to the fore when vigilance department raided several godowns and found public ration missing.

It was reported then that over 35,00 quintals of sugar went missing from Gulab Bagh godown alone.

The official said during the investigation it came to the fore that sugar was sold out to some dealers at the higher rates. “Some of the officials were then suspended but no recovery was made from them despite causing heavy loss to the state exchequer,” the official said.

In November 2013, 10,000 quintals of rice went missing in godowns in Awantipora of Pulwama district.

Another ration scam came to the fore in 2014 when around 3000 quintals of rice went missing from a granary in Budgam district.

During 2014, the Vigilance Organisation indicted one of the former Directors of CAPD for misappropriation of huge quantity of flour. Sources said the scam came to the fore when vigilance sleuths conducted raids at the ration depots of CAPD and found a huge quantity of rice missing.

The official said authorities have also failed to make recovery of misappropriated ration despite some of the government officials been indicted for misappropriating government rice, sugar, and flour.

According to sources, Vigilance sleuths had raided CAPD office Shaheed Gunj several times in the past and seized documents regarding distribution of sugar to ration depots, but there was no headway in probes.

According to a report of the State Vigilance Commission, DFCSCA is one of the “most corrupt” departments.

A senior official said that government has been making efforts to stop ration pilferage. “The authorities had decided installing of CCTV cameras in every godown and depot to stop ration pilferage. But there is a mafia in the department who are creating hurdles. They don’t want CCTV cameras should be installed,” he said.

“There are also few other measures by which the ration pilferage and black-marketing would be stopped but we are facing opposition from some officials,” he added. (ET)

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