Joint Committee to probe irregularities in paddy procurement in Maharashtra

The Maharashtra government has constituted a joint committee of five members including the District Magistrate of Bhandara and Gondia revenue districts and the Divisional Manager of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) on the paddy procurement issue, the Lok Sabha was informed on Tuesday.

“The Department of Food and Public Distribution of the government of India vide letter No 3(9) 12021-Py.1 dated July 30, 2021 directed the Government of Maharashtra to immediately constitute a joint team with FCI. Accordingly, the Government of Maharashtra on August 2, 21 constituted a Joint Committee of five members including the District Magistrate of the revenue district (Bhandara and Gondia) concerned and the Divisional Manager of FCI,” Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal said in a statement laid on the table of the House.

MP Sunil Mendhe had raised a question regarding ‘irregularities and corruption in procurement of paddy’.

This was in response to two complaints, one by Mendhe himself — he is the Lok Sabha MP from Bhandara, Gondia — and another by Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Devendra Fadnavis in June 2021 regarding ‘corruption and lapse in paddy procurement in Maharashtra’ and ‘on going scam in purchase of paddy at minimum support price in Maharashtra’, the Minister answered.

These were two of the just eight complaints that the Centre and FCI received during KMS 2020-21 from across India, the Minister said.

Mendhe had lodged another complaint regarding ‘Delay in paddy procurement, procurement of paddy from middlemen and traders and manipulation of procurement records’ earlier before March 2021. The other complaints included three from Uttar Pradesh and one from Jharkhand.

During the ongoing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-21, 872.06 LMT paddy (upto 3.8.2021) has been procured from about 128.72 lakh farmers spread over 23 states at 74,609 procurement centres.