Khammam: Middlemen earn crores by diverting PDS rice
Public Distribution System (PDS) rice, meant to be distributed to the people living below poverty line, is taking sidetrack and earning crores of rupees for middlemen
Khammam: Public Distribution System (PDS) rice, meant to be distributed to the people living below poverty line, is taking sidetrack and earning crores of rupees for middlemen. Thanks to the officials, who supposed to prevent the illegal transportation of PDS rice, are turning a blind eye to these illegal activities.
It is learnt that middlemen are transporting the PDS rice to rice millers and to some beer manufacturing units and earning huge profits. A middleman, who don't want to disclose his name, said that they purchase rice from ration shop dealers and beneficiaries for Rs 5 per kg and sell the same for Rs 14 to Rs 15 per kg. The middlemen have been transporting the rice to Andhra Pradesh through vehicles and some rice is being shifted to port in Kakinada of Andhra Pradesh.
Illegal transportation of PDS rice to other States became a big business and more middle people are entering into this trade, which is giving huge profits. Of late, illegal rice transportation was slowed down due to police checking, but earlier it was a very profitable business.
It was said that middlemen will visit colonies and small hamlets and collect rice from poor people by paying Rs 3 to Rs 5 per kg and shift the rice to a stock point. Later, this rice will be transported to another State in bulk quantities. The illegal business is rampant during ration distribution period.
A Raju, resident of Khammam, said that PDS rice is not edible, which is thick, hence they will sell it to middlemen, who come to their doorsteps to purchase. "We will buy fine rice in the market to consume," he added.
It's learnt most of the people, who are getting PDS rice, are not eating it and prefer to sell it to either ration shop dealers or middlemen. The State government had introduced a biometric system to control bogus cards but ration shop dealers are taking fingerprints of the beneficiaries by paying Rs 3 to Rs 5 per kg and selling it to middlemen for Rs 7 to Rs 10 per kg.
Police task force registered as many as 37 cases and seized PDS rice worth Rs 42 lakh in recent days. Task Force Assistant Commissioner of Police Ganta Venkata Rao said, "We are keeping an eye on middlemen and nabbing them while shifting the rice". We will increase vigil on illegal rice transportation and nab the culprits, he added.