Punsup official-trader chat exposes nexus to sell outside paddy - ECAS Punjab

Punsup official-trader chat exposes nexus to sell outside paddy

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Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 22

The release of a purported chat between a Punsup district manager and a trader regarding allowing the sale of paddy bought at lower rates from other states to procurement agencies at the minimum support price (MSP) in Punjab, has exposed the misuse of the MSP system.

Modus operandi

  • Paddy is bought at Rs1,100 per quintal from UP, Bihar and transported to Punjab
  • Records are faked to

    show paddy procured from local farmers

  • It is then sold to government agencies at MSP of Rs1,888 per qunital

Some traders buy paddy at Rs 1,100-Rs 1,200 per quintal from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Later, they transport it to Punjab. After tying up with officials in mandis, procurement agencies and commission agents, they fake records to show the paddy was procured from local farmers. This is then sold to government agencies at the MSP of Rs 1,888 per qunital.

In the viral chat, the Punsup official at Patiala and the trader discuss how much he should be paid by the commission agent for allowing the entry of paddy in the mandi. In the chat, they purportedly talk of having an inspector of the agents' choice posted in the Patiala mandi. The Punsup official also "negotiates the bribe" with the trader, saying it has to be shared with a minister and for organising the visit of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi had visited the state earlier this month. The chat reportedly is of October 4.

Since the chat went viral, Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu has suspended the official and proceedings to dismiss him from service have been initiated. Denying any role in the controversy, the minister claimed that his name was being misused. "The moment I learnt of it, I suspended the official, showing zero tolerance for such acts," he said. The suspended official has also approached the Patiala police, alleging that the chat was fake.

Sources in the Food and Supplies Department and Punsup said the practice of buying cheaper paddy from other states and selling it to government agencies here had been going on for quite some time.

"No wonder, the paddy bought in Punjab in each procurement season is more than the paddy produced in the state. Last year, 11.82 lakh tonnes of paddy, over and above the production of 152 lakh metric tonnes was procured by government agencies," said an official in Punsup KAP Sinha, Principal Secretary, Food and Supplies, said the department had asked the police to register cases if they find illegal trucks carrying paddy from outside the state, to be sold in mandis here.

"Around 200 trucks have been seized and action initiated against unscrupulous dealers, while a similar number of trucks are being examined. I have written to all district managers to keep a strict vigil and seek police help wherever an anomaly is detected," he said.



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