Govt may enquire into alleged irregularities in subsidised

Assam government today said it will consider holding an enquiry over alleged irregularities in distribution of subsidised rice to around 10 lakh ghost tea garden beneficiaries across the state over the past many years.
The issue of stopping of subsidised rice to tea garden workers was raised by BJP MLA Terash Gowalla during the Zero Hour and sought an explanation from Tea Tribes Welfare Minister Pallab Lochan Das.
During the discussion, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) member Ramendra Narayan Kalita alleged that a large-scale corruption took place during the Congress regime in distribution of the rice.
"As per records, there are nine lakh tea garden workers in Assam. But rice was distributed among 19 lakh beneficiaries," he claimed, adding "how could this happen? I demand that an enquiry by a retired judge or CBI be conducted in this matter".
Accepting the demand in-principle, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said he will discuss the issue with the Chief Minister and will inform the House accordingly.
On this, Assam Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami said, "This is a very serious matter. I request the Minister to do something. I reserve my ruling today and will announce it later."
Earlier, Das informed the House that subsidised rice, meant for APL categories, was diverted to the owners of the tea gardens for distribution among the workers for an amount of Rs 0.50 per kg.
"After the National Food Security Act was implemented, this APL rice was stopped by the Central government. It was not done by the BJP, but was done during the Congress tenure.
"However, propaganda is being carried out that BJP has stopped the rice distribution to poor labourers," he added.
Das alleged the owners of the tea gardens are trying to create a law and order situation and if anything like this takes place, strict action should be initiated against them.
"Tea gardens are violating various provisions of the Plantation Labour Act. It is very sad that not a single tea garden is giving the minimum wage to the workers. Also, the wages in Brahmaputra and Barak valleys are different. There are many such anomalies," the Minister said.
He informed the House that the government will take action against the errant tea gardens if they do not provide basic amenities as per the Act. 

Readers choice: TOP-5 articles of the month by UkrAgroConsult