The Tamil Nadu government has drawn flak after the Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) engaged three ‘substandard’ companies to supply food materials to PDS shops.
The three companies, according to an RTI reply, were in the dock for supplying substandard materials in Pongal gift hampers.
The three companies — Arunachala Impex, Integrated Service Point and Natural Food Commercials — were served show-cause notice by the TNCSC after complaints were raised over poor quality of materials supplied in the gift hampers during Pongal.
RTI activist Yuvaraj Ramalingam, who obtained the data on the supply of materials to the PDS shops, told mediapersons that even after the Chief Minister had promised stringent action against the companies that had supplied poor quality materials in Pongal gift hampers, nothing happened.
He said that six companies were pulled up for supplying poor quality materials, but three companies, Arunachala Impex, Integrated Service Point and Natural Food Commercials, were again engaged by the TNCSC for supplying materials to the PDS shops in the state.
According to information available through RTI, these three companies were roped in for supplying palm oil and dal through tender between March and September 2022. TNCSC procured four crore one litre pouches of palm oil and one lakh tonnes of dal from these three firms.
Consumer activist R. Pandyan told IANS, “The state government has given orders for four crore one litre pouches of palm oil and one lakh tonnes of dal to companies which ought to have been blacklisted long back. People had complained about the poor quality of materials supplied in the Pongal hampers, and out of the six companies that were responsible for supplying poor quality materials, three have again supplied materials to PDS shops. Stringent action has to be taken in this matter.”
It may be noted that the state government had spent a whopping Rs 1163 crore for supplying Pongal gift hampers. These gift hampers constituted 21 food items, including rava, jaggery and wheat, and were supplied to 2.15 crore families in the state.