NPP ‘unearths’ PDS sugar scam

CBI inquiry, Clement Marak’s resignation demanded

SHILLONG: The National People’s Party (NPP) has alleged irregularities in the tendering process for supply of sugar under the Public Distribution System in the state, even as it demands a CBI inquiry into the matter.
“We demand a CBI inquiry into the anomaly for favouring a particular bidder at an exorbitant rate,” NPP legislator and spokesperson James K Sangma told media on Monday, besides demanding the resignation of  the Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs minister Clement Marak pending the inquiry.
Sangma alleged that the government this year has allotted the supply order to Beta Edibles Processing Pvt Ltd (BEPPL) at the rate of Rs 54,270 per MT which was more than what another firm, Kendriya Bhandar, had supplied at the rate of Rs 43,270/MT in 2014.
“The additional amount paid by the government comes to around Rs 2.72 crore per month,” he claimed, demanding an explanation as to why the BEPPL was given the supply order at such an ‘exorbitant rate’.
Meghalaya has been allotted over 1704 metric tons of PDS sugar per month and subsidies rate of Rs 18.50 per kg by the Central government.
Stating that there is a massive ‘scam’ in PDS, Sangma said that   in the second tender in 2015, all the four bidders had quoted a bidding price in the range of Rs 44000-45000  per metric tonnes.
Surprisingly, the Food and Civil Supplies Department offered the tender to one firm-Beta Edibles Processing Private Limited which quoted a whopping Rs 54, 270 per metric ton, he alleged.
The party also alleged the Government last year put another condition in the tender that   the   packaging unit   should be in Meghalaya or nearby for close monitoring   of the quality,   packing and delivery   of sugar and this was done to suit certain suppliers.
The party would raise the issue before the Union Government, Sangma said adding the government had in 2014 forced two bidders — Sanna Enterprises and Tatyasaheb Kore Warna SSK Ltd, which had quoted Rs 37,850 and Rs 40,701 per MT — to withdraw from the tender process.
According to Tura MP and NPP’s national president Conrad Sangma, “Despite buying at a higher rate, there is a scarcity of  PDS sugar in the state”.
Meanwhile, Food and Civil Supplies Clement Marak  has refuted the charge saying   all the bidding process was done online and “everyone has access to the bidding and the tender process.”
Talking to The Shillong Times, he said that there was a tendering committee in the department headed by principal secretary and other senior officials of the department.
He also said that the department issued the allotment order to the Beta Edibles Processing Pvt Ltd  since the tendering process was already delayed by three months.
Meanwhile, in a statement issued to the media, the principal secretary Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, PW Ingty clarified that sugar is being provided to PDS beneficiaries through the fair price shops in hygienically packed 1 kg poly bags, with the state logo, at the rate of Rs 20 per Kg, which is below the open market price of sugar.
“A transparent system of procuring sugar from the open market through e-tendering is being followed in the State, where the tender is allotted to the lowest successful bidder who has fulfilled all requirements in the tender document,” the statement added

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