Food scam unearthed

Department of Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), usually known as CAPD, has been conspicuously in news for a long time. Its notoriety as the classical case of corrupt practices and ill reputation has become proverbial. It has been under the constant surveillance of the Vigilance Organization for gross irregularities.
Another case of misappropriation and pilferage of the ration meant for the people has come to fore. The Crime Branch has raided 27 ration depots in the district of Pulwama so far. It has found evidence to show that the ration meant for the poor under the scheme called Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES) has been sold by the functionaries of the FCS&CA in the black market at more than two and a half times the price of the ration and thus pocketed the extra money. The raid of the Crime Branch has revealed that the persons running ration depots have, in connivance with the functionaries of the CAPD, sold the ration in black market especially at a time of shortage of food supplies in some parts of rural Kashmir. The dishonest depot holders have sold the ration at rupees 25 per kilogram and deposited only the sales at rupees ten per kilogram thus pocketing rupees 15 in each kilogram. This shows that black marketers, some CAPD functionaries and depot holders have been in league for unfair deal of pilfering the stores and making false entries in the records. The Crime Branch is of opinion that the functionaries have made false and fraudulent entries in the official books. In many cases, no entries of sale have been shown though money for the sale of the ration at the rate of ten rupees has been deposited in the treasuries.
A number of questions arise in this connection. The Crime Branch has not as yet completed its enquiry into the scam. The hard facts of this big scam will be known only after the full report is available. The question is whether the district administration was totally ignorant of the scam underway when the people were demonstrating in large numbers against the shortage of ration. What was the Deputy Commissioner doing? How many times did the district administrative machinery intervene in the matter and why could it not unearth the gross irregularity but put the ball in the court of the Crime Branch. Obviously, they did not want to take up cudgels with the mafia that had evolved with the passage of time. The second question is that the Government has been soft paddling with the defaulters of CAPD against whom cases of corruption are still pending and undecided. Government has adopted procrastination policy and many among the accused in CAPD scam have died, many have retired and many are on the verge of retirement. This department has become a festering sore and money making machine for its employees. We fail to understand why the Government is not willing to overhaul the entire department, weed out the dead wood, cleanse it of all impurities and give a completely new shape to the department. The stereotypes have to be sidelined and fresh blood needs to be inducted into its veins. The department must be cleansed of its bad name and transparency should be made its first principle. Short cuts to improvement are meaningless and futile. Penalty, according to rules, should be imposed on defaulters.

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