FCI replies to ‘worm infested MDM rice’
Dimapur, June 3 : The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has broken silence on the issue of supply of ‘worm-infested, uneatable rice’ allegedly supplied under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme to some schools in Mokokchung district, besides charges of “non-implementation” of the scheme in some other schools. The FCI issued a press release on Friday.
The FCI said that it had agreed “in principle” to replace the rice although no FCI official had given such assurance. The technicalities of the matter were stated in the press release: “It may he noted here that the Government of India allocated rice/wheat @100 grams per Primary student (class Ito V) and 1./M50 grams per Upper Primary (class VI to VIII) student per school day in the age group of six to fourteen years. The rice allocations under MDM for the state of Nagaland during 2015-16 were 3816.09 MT at BPL rate. The rice allocations for the first two quarters of 2016-17 (April-Sept/16) are 2507.07 MT. These allocations are to be lifted from nearest FCI godown by the respective District Administrations as per the District-wise allocations made by the state government on monthly, bimonthly or quarterly basis.”
The samples of stocks from where they are to be lifted, the FCI stated, are jointly ‘drawn’ by representatives of the state government and the FCI. The sample slips are then jointly signed and sealed. “These samples are to be retained for three months in token of quality of food grains received from FCI. In case of any complaint of low quality of food grains is received within this period, these samples are used to ascertain the veracity of the complaint,” the corporation clarified.
The FCI stated that the government of Nagaland had authorized one M/S Vitoi Sumi of Circular Road in Dimapur to lift the entire allocations of MDM food grains for the state of Nagaland for the period 2015-16.
“The allocations for the last three quarters were lifted by the authorized agency during September 2015 (July – Sept/I5). December 2015 (Oct- Dee/15) and March 2016 (Jan-Mar/16) after joint sampling and satisfaction of the quality of the food grain. The quality of fixed grains in FCI godowns are maintained by Quality Control staff in conformity with standards set by FSSAI,” the FCI stated. The samples of grains lifted during these periods were preserved by the Quality Control staff, the FCI explained. “The joint samples were produced and on visual inspection found to be of good quality during the joint meeting of state government, department of School Education, FCI and state government. MDM carriage contractor held on 14.03.2016 in the directorate of School Education, Kohima in connection with supply of worm-infested rice for MDM in Mokokchung district.”
The “lifting agent” or “carriage contractor” of the state government had informed that they had taken the responsibility and “replace the stock under complaint,” the press release said.
The corporation said that it was unlikely that the rice lifted from the FCI warehouse in December 2015 would have rotted in February or March 2016 unless stored in unhygienic or “unscientific manner.”
“After lifting food grains from FCI godown, it is the responsibility of the state government for distribution to the schools. MDMS is covered under National Food Security Act. 2013 and once the state government implements the NFSA food grain for MDMS would be at the rate of Rs. 3 and Rs. 2 ‘per kg rice/wheat respectively.’
Stating that the Food Corporation of India makes available sufficient food grains to Dimapur, Mokokchung, Tuensang and Mon for Public Distribution Systems and other welfare schemes, the FCI has said that information on the scheme and TPDS can be accessed from the government websites mdm.nic.in. and dfpd.nic.in and fcamin.nic.in and fci.gov.in