Wheat a waste! No covered storage, FCI stocks worth ₹700 cr damaged in Punjab till Mar 2016 | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Wheat a waste! No covered storage, FCI stocks worth ₹700 cr damaged in Punjab till Mar 2016

The damaged wheat stock could not be supplied through the ration shops, the CAG said in its latest report tabled in Parliament on Friday. The CAG has audited implementation of the scheme PEG (Private Entrepreneur Guarantee) in Punjab to create storage capacity and the way FCI managed its debt, labour and incentive payments during 2011-16.

punjab Updated: Aug 04, 2017 19:13 IST
Rotten wheat at a storage facility near Patiala.
Rotten wheat at a storage facility near Patiala. (HT File Photo)

Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has found that Food Corporation of India (FCI) wheat stock worth ₹700 crore was damaged in Punjab from 2011 till March 2016 as the grain was kept in open areas due to lack of storage facility.

The damaged wheat stock could not be supplied through the ration shops, the CAG said in its latest report tabled in Parliament on Friday. The CAG has audited implementation of the scheme PEG (Private Entrepreneur Guarantee) in Punjab to create storage capacity and the way FCI managed its debt, labour and incentive payments during 2011-16.

Rotten wheat in a village near Patiala. (Bharat Bhushan/HT File Photo)

The CAG also found state-owned FCI selling wheat to bulk consumers at a rate below the cost in 2013-14 leading to non-recovery of ₹38.99 crore. Besides, the FCI incurred excess expenditure of ₹237.65 crore due to non-rationalisation of surplus labour and deployment of costlier labour at depots.

The FCI had made fraudulent excess payment of ₹14.73 lakh and ₹37.89 lakh to transport contractors on account of payment of higher rates and for bills for longer distance than actual for transportation of food grains, the CAG said.

On the PEG scheme, the auditor said the implementation was “negligible in the initial years and even after seven years, full capacity had not been taken over. The operation of the scheme also suffered from various lacunae”.

APEX AUDITOR’S FINDINGS
  • CAG has audited implementation of Private Entrepreneur Guarantee scheme in Punjab to create storage capacity and the way FCI managed its debt, labour and incentive payments during 2011-16
  • 53.56 lakh tonnes of wheat stock was lying in covered and plinth (CAP), “kacha” plinth and mandi with state government agencies and the FCI
  • 4.72 lakh tonnes of wheat valuing ₹700crore got deteriorated and was declared non-issuable to the public distribution system in March 2016 as it was stored in open areas
  • FCI made fraudulent excess payment of ₹14.73 lakh and ₹37.89 lakh to transport contractors
  • Ineligible bidders were awarded contracts for the construction of godowns and undue benefit of ₹21.04 crore as rent during 2012-13 to 2015-16 was passed on to private enterprises

In Punjab, 53.56 lakh tonnes of wheat stock was lying at covered and plinth (CAP), “kacha” plinth and mandi with state government agencies and the FCI.

“4.72 lakh tonnes of wheat valuing ₹700.30 crore got deteriorated which were declared non-issuable to the public distribution system (March 2016) as it was stored in open areas,” the CAG report stated.

Huge stock of wheat kept lying in the open due to delay in implementation of the PEG scheme. Such stock rose from 103.36 lakh tonnes in 2011-12 to 132.68 lakh tonnes in 2012-13, the CAG pointed out.

The audit noticed that in Sangrur and Faridkot districts, the capacity of only 12.94 lakh tonnes was taken over under the PEG scheme even though the FCI wheat stock lying open was much higher at 14.40 lakh tonnes with a value of ₹2,413.04 crore till June 2015.

“Despite huge quantities of wheat lying unprotected in CAP/kacha plinth, a capacity of 6 lakh tonnes was de-hired by FCI during September 2012 and March 2016 in these districts. Thus, in both districts, a significant quantity was lying in CAP/kacha plinths exposed to vagaries of weather,” it added.

The CAG also found that ineligible bidders were awarded contracts for the construction of godowns and undue benefit of ₹21.04 crore as rent during 2012-13 to 2015-16 was passed on to private enterprises.

A worker shows harvested wheat grains. (HT File Photo)

Handling cost of ₹9.77 crore was incurred during 2012-13 to 2015-16 due to taking over of godowns without railway sidings and excess expenditure of ₹8.36 crore on transportation of grains was incurred due to incorrect measurement of distance by state agency PUNGRAIN and the FCI.

On FCI labour, the CAG said the labour management practices in the FCI depots were found to be “deficient with poor administrative controls” resulting in payment of “idle wages, inadmissible incentive payments” in violation of rules.

“The FCI has not been able to tackle the problem of proxy labours in its depots,” it said, suggesting the agency to take action to eliminate proxy labour.