Panaji: Goa Forward Party President and MLA Vijai Sardesai on Saturday demanded an independent investigation by Central agencies into the wastage of 241 tonnes of tur dal, procured by the Civil Supplies Department for public distribution during the COVID pandemic in 2020.
While addressing a press conference here, Sardesai said that he has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking an investigation and hoped that action will be initiated.
“We have written a letter to Prime Minister. It is criminal wastage and hence investigation should be done. Just for eyewash government has suspended former director of Civil Supply Sidhivinayak Naik. He has been done scapegoat in this matter without proper inquiry. Then Minister (of Civil Supplies Govind Gaude) and Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had taken the decision of tur dal procurement in a cabinet�meet in 2020,” Sardesai said.
The ‘tur dal wastage’ issue came to light recently after the government had issued an�advertisement seeking bidders to dispose it.
“These scams are in fact symptoms of the failure of Goa’s Food and Public Distribution system certified by none other than the Government of India itself,” Sardesai said.
He said that as per the ‘State Ranking Index for National Food Security Act’ Goa was ranked last among the 20 general category States. “This report was released by the Department of Food and Public Distribution of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and an assessment was done by the Government of India itself.
“Now Pramod Sawant should stop using the ‘Double Engine Sarkar’ phrase in Goa as one engine at the top has exposed the ‘out-of-order’ engine at the State level,” he said.
“Goa Government has not constituted a vigilance committee at all four levels of PDS, has not conducted a social audit, has no State-owned storage infrastructure, has not set up a State Food Commission, and not appointed a District Grievance Redressal officer. These are mandatory under the NFSA Act 2013. The government does not even have a website where they have to list information about their current inventory, distribution, and delivery,” he said.
Sardesai stated that the National Food Security Program is the largest in the world and PM Modi has initiated some good reforms under the NFSA but the Goa government has failed to implement them.