Fortified flour distribution programme hits snag amid speculation on suspected 'siphoning'

By Cheryl Tay contact

- Last updated on GMT

Anonymous insider sources have said this was the result of an attempt to siphon off flour, which was to be supplied by flour mills to the tune of 1,237,700kg of fortified flour. ©Getty Images
Anonymous insider sources have said this was the result of an attempt to siphon off flour, which was to be supplied by flour mills to the tune of 1,237,700kg of fortified flour. ©Getty Images

Related tags: India, Fortification, Flour

India's Food and Civil Supplies Department (DFCS) is investigating 90 depot holders for failing to distribute fortified flour to designated beneficiaries.

To compound matters, the depot holders allegedly scanned and recorded the biometric thumb impressions of all the recipients, even those who had not received their allotment of flour.

The department was alerted to the issue by one of the beneficiaries and has organised a task force of four inspectors to investigate the matter.

Suspected siphoning

Anonymous insider sources have said this was the result of an attempt to siphon off flour, which was to be supplied by flour mills to the tune of 1,237,700kg of fortified flour.

However, only 561,700kg ended up going to the beneficiaries, as the depot holders allegedly did not receive the allocated amount of flour.

The distribution had previously been set at 5kg of fortified flour per family member, and 35kg for each family that had the Antyodaya ration card.

Despite this glaring discrepancy, the 90 depot holders went ahead to obtain the biometric thumb impressions of the beneficiaries.

The DFCS' Kushal Boora said, "Our team is investigating the matter and action will be initiated against those found guilty."

Supply woes?

He added that the remaining undistributed supply of fortified flour for the month of February would be distributed together with the supply for March, and the depot holders involved would be required to announce this in their respective districts prior to distribution.

The Public Distribution System (PDS), which oversees the distribution programme, has also claimed there was lack of supply that resulted in insufficient wheat provided to the flour mills.

The PDS also sent letters to the DFCS in the districts of Ambala, Kaithal, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Panipat and Sonepat to ensure its cooperation in keeping the distribution programme running as planned.

Furthermore, the PDS instructed the DFCS to make sure there is sufficient fortified flour for distribution to the depot holders, setting the deadline on March 25.

In the letter, the PDS wrote:  "It has been observed that some districts have not supplied wheat till March 17 to flour mills for making fortified flour, which is in violation of the National Food Security Act. All will ensure supply of wheat to flour mills at the earliest."

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