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Grain transport ill-monitored

Grain transport ill-monitored
K M Sree, TNN | Oct 13, 2013

KOZHIKODE: Even as complaints are aplenty regarding rotten and worm-infested grains supplied through the public distribution system, officials with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) are least bothered about ensuring the safe transportation of grains from its warehouse to the stores of wholesale dealers.

Though a mechanism is in force to ascertain that trucks transporting grains are covered properly, no such measures are taken by officials at the FCI warehouse in West Hill.

As per the conditions, FCI officials and representatives of wholesale ration dealers, present at the warehouse while loading grains have the task of insisting that the truck drivers cover the grains properly, said an official with the district civil supplies office, preferring anonymity. It is inappropriate to allow the grains to get wet in the rain, he said.

However, the monitoring system is practically non-existent at the FCI warehouse, allowing truck drivers to transport grains in any manner they prefer. Uncovered trucks filled with rain-soaked sacks of grain are a common sight for West Hill residents.

"Trucks transporting goods for private companies use quality polythene or tarpaulin sheets to protect goods from the rain and sun, but not many trucks moving out of the FCI warehouse are seen using such measures," said K K Ali, a trader at West Hill.

Retail ration dealers in the district have also been crying foul against officials of the FCI and civil supplies for supplying poor quality, rotten and worm-infested grains. "No measures are taken to keep these grains clean and free of worms. The grains are always transported in open trucks, even during rains," complained C P Mohammadali, secretary of All Kerala Ration Dealers Association.

The condition of the warehouse under the civil supplies corporation at Vellayil is more pathetic, said Mohammadali. It does not have the facility to preserve rice, wheat, sugar or other commodities separately, he alleged. "Most of the time we have no choice but to distribute the rotten grains that we are supplied. But the blame always falls on the dealer," Mohammadali said.

While it is the responsibility of officials with the Food Safety Commissionerate to monitor the quality of edibles and

provisions supplied by private distributers, the government has not yet entrusted these officials the task of monitoring PDS. "As of now we are not in a position to inspect or interfere in the PDS," said Mohammed Rafi, designated officer of food safety.

Meanwhile, an FCI official claimed that they have been making sure that food grains are covered properly ahead of transportation, especially during the rainy season. However, we can't check whether they remove the covers once they are out of the FCI compound, he said

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