In a fresh criticism of the Centre's decision to import wheat, former MP and member of the BJP's national executive, Kirit Somaya, has alleged that out of 8,404 tonnes of wheat allocated to Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra, nearly 3,777 tonnes was found unfit for human consumption by the health ministry's laboratory.
Addressing a press conference today, Somaya distributed a copy of the reply of the Sindhudurg district collector to the information he sought under the Right to Information (RTI) act.
The reply clearly states that out of 8,404 tonnes of wheat (bought by the state government from Food Corporation of India (FCI)) since October 2006, nearly 3,777 tonnes was found unfit for human consumption by the Pune-based laboratory.
It was found that out of 68 samples taken from eight government warehouses in Sindhudurg, only 25 were found fit. Entire allocation of wheat to talukas like Kudal, Kankwali, Vaibhavwadi and Vengurla was not found to be fit for consumption.
The reply adds nearly 8,388.74 tonnes of wheat was distributed in the Sindhudurg district public distribution scheme (PDS) and allotted to boarding schools and homes for destitute women.
"This is the worst kind of cheating of those people who are dependent on government welfare schemes for their survival," Somaya said.
"After we raised hue and cry against the inferior quality of wheat, the state government agreed to withdraw nearly 30,000 tonnes of imported inferior quality of wheat, but it tried to bring this wheat in market through backdoor channel by putting pressure on flour mills and bakers," he alleged.
"The PIL filed by me demanding a CBI probe into the wheat import scam will come up for hearing on January 14 before the Bombay High Court,"he added.
"We are contesting the decision to import wheat on two counts , first, quality of wheat which was imported and second exceptionally high price which was paid for this imported wheat. While the wheat was imported at 16 kg or so Indian farmers were offered minimum support price (MSP) only of around Rs.8," he added.