A day after a Congress MLA came across underweight flour packets being distributed in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh Congress on Sunday alleged a 60 crore scam in the distribution of ration to the poor during the Covid-19 lockdown period and demanded a probe into it.
Former chief minister and senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh dashed off a letter to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and alleged that atta (whole wheat flour) packets being distributed to the poor are far short of the weight mentioned on the packets.
“When the entire society is helping the poor during these crucial times, government ration shops are stealing atta from the packets,” Digvijaya alleged.
Demanding an FIR against the culprits, he wrote, “Food is being stolen from the poor even during these emergency times. This kind of corruption is inhuman, unethical and an example of sheer bad governance. I request you to find the culprits of this scam and register FIRs against them.”
Digvijaya also asked Chouhan to take necessary steps and ensure that the right amount of ration reaches the needy across the state.
In a scathing attack on the government, Senior Congress leader and former Leader of Opposition Ajay Singh also issued a statement on Sunday making the same allegations and claimed the scam is no less than Rs 60 crore.
“In the first month of the BJP government, we have yet another scam,” he said. “There are 70 lakh packets of flour that are being distributed. Each packet claims it contains 10 kg of flour. But, Congress issued photo evidence of how these packets contain much less than the claimed 10kg of flour,” he added.
“The state is asking industrial houses to give financial assistance. And people are generously contributing seeing the crisis situation. But, is the Chouhan government getting this financial aid to perpetuate a new scam?” Ajay Singh asked.
CPI (M) Leader Jaswinder Singh also called the situation shameful and demanded strict action. "People are dying due to starvation and even middle class families are running out of rations due to the lock down and government officials are stealing flour? Nothing can be more shameful than this. And it's a scam of more than Rs 60 crore. CM Chouhan should initiate a probe and take strict action against culprits."
The corruption came to the fore when Congress MLA from Gwalior South, Praveen Pathak was supervising the distribution of relief ration being distributed by the state government during the lockdown on Friday. When weighed, it was found that each packet had far less the amount of flour than what was claimed on the packets.
“During the ration distribution, we found that the wheat packets which were supposed to contain 10 kg of atta, either had 6 kg or 7 kg or 8 kg,” Pathak said. “These packets meant for BPL card holders are being distributed through the Public Distribution System. Government is paying for full 10 kg of atta per packet. And when 70 lakh packets are being distributed, this is a huge scam,” he claimed.
Later, Pathak wrote a letter to Chouhan and informed the leaders of his party about the issue.