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Foodgrains allotted by Centre being misused, says BJP

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, JUNE 13. After the bonhomie witnessed in the new Legislative Assembly for the first three days between the coalition partners and the Opposition, the latter seems to be on the warpath in the days to come.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had been questioning the legitimacy of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) Government, has found an issue in the alleged diversion and misuse of foodgrains allotted by the Centre. The BJP leaders have alleged that the misuse of foodgrains, allotted by the Centre for the food-for-work programme and the public distribution system (PDS), was continuing unabated even after the new Government came to power in the State. They have alleged that a well-organised racket in diverting even wheat was going on.

Earlier, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, told presspersons that action would be taken against those involved in the illegal diversion of rice supplied by the Centre once the Corps of Detectives submitted the report. The Government had nothing to do hide in the matter. The Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, B.S. Yediyurappa; the senior party leader and MLC, Ramachandra Gowda; and the MLA, Katta Subramanya Naidu, made the statement about the misuse of foodgrains after inspecting seven wheat-laden lorries, which were seized by the Food and Civil Supplies Department over a fortnight ago.

The wheat released by the Food Corporation of India was meant for distribution under the public distribution system. Instead, they found their way to a roller flourmill on the Hosur Road to be converted into soji and maida. The lorries had 1,400 bags of wheat. The Food and Civil Supplies Commissioner, B.H. Anil Kumar, carried out the seizure. Mr. Yediyurappa lauded the official for seizing the wheat and the lorries. He said no action had been taken to get them released and to file criminal cases against the persons involved, including the owner of the flourmill. Such diversion of wheat had been going on for long and crores of rupees worth of wheat meant to be sold to ration cardholders had been siphoned off to flour mills. He said the previous State Government had incessantly attacked the then NDA Government on the grounds that it was denying the State the required quantity of foodgrains for the drought relief programme. The fact was that the foodgrains sent by the Centre were misused by the ruling party at that time, he alleged.

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