After it came to light that paddy worth Rs 5 crore was missing from a rice mill in Faridkot, the PUNSUP authorities in the district had decided to go for its physical verification under the supervision of senior officials. The missing paddy was stocked in the rice mill, which reportedly belongs to a leader of the ruling party.
The issue came to light after junior employees suspected that there was shortage of paddy in the stock. A physical verification of the stock could not be carried out as the rice mill was found locked.
"Most rice mills/shellers in the area belong to the ruling party leaders. They do whatever they feel like," a source in a procurement agency claimed. Employees find themselves helpless because they have "no control" over the milling and stocking functions, source said, adding that employees are supposed to inspect the stock and if they find something wrong, they should inform seniors.
The issue of physical verification reached the district administration 13 days ago and the Faridkot SDM was reportedly asked to supervise the exercise. However, physical verification could not be carried out as the mill was locked and the authorities had to return empty handed.
The authorities concerned now plan to break open the locks by following appropriate procedure.
The matter of seeking physical verification of paddy was brought to the notice of the Punsup district manager, Faridkot, on January 21, which was accepted by the deputy commissioner, said sources.
When contacted, the district manager of Punsup, Sandeep Bansal, said the agency would do the physical verification of the stock on Tuesday. "Nothing can be said about any shortage unless we do physical verification," he said. "Until then, it's all speculation."
Earlier PUNSUP was in a difficult situation in deciding whether or not to write to the district magistrate to seek permission to get the mill opened, as it belongs to a leader of the ruling alliance, the sources have said.
The sheller was not allotted to the agency for the year 2012-13, since it was blacklisted over failing to deliver about 27,000-quintal stock the previous year, for which the physical verification will be done.