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Multi-crore rice scam hits flood ravaged Assam

Assam yet to recover from the impact of the floods has been rocked by a multi-crore scam in the procurement of rice for distribution in Nagaon district.
PTI | By Press Trust of India, Guwahati
UPDATED ON AUG 10, 2004 06:39 PM IST

Assam yet to recover from the impact of the devastating floods has been rocked by a multi-crore scam in the procurement of rice for distribution among the flood-hit people of the state's Nagaon district.

The state government has already ordered a departmental inquiry with the Joint Secretary of the Department of Food and Civil Supplies to inquire into it, official sources said in Guwahati on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the state legislative assembly which is currently in session has constituted a House Committee to investigate into the allegations that thousands of quintals of rice meant for Arunachal Pradesh was being sold among the flood affected people of the district.

Former Agriculture Minister Dr Ardhendu Dey, who was dropped in the recent downsizing of the state cabinet, has alleged that rice allotted for Arunachal Pradesh were stored in Nagaon and Hojai and these were mixed with broken rice and sold at a much higher rate to the flood-affected people.

"The floods have come as a boon for a section of officers, politicians and businessmen who are out to make money out of the sufferings of the people", he alleged.

Assom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Brindabon Goswami alleged that some officials of the Nagaon district administration was involved in the scam and they should be immediately brought to book.

Goswami further said that farmers are not getting their due price as rice for allotment to the neighbouring states was flooding the markets.

Minister of state for Home Rockybul Hussain said that the scam came to light only due to the prompt action taken by the police and alleged that some persons dropped from the ministry was make unnecessary allegations against the government.

He said that the government has already ordered a departmental inquiry into the matter and the Nagaon Deputy Commissioner has been asked to submit a report at the earliest.

Nagaon Deputy Commissioner Prateek Hajela said that the inquiry into the matter has already begun by the concerned department.

Hajela said that he has also requested the Commissioner and Secretary of Relief and Rehabilitation Department of the Government of Arunachal Pradesh to take action against the transport organisation, which allegedly violated the government rules and regulations while transporting the rice from Nagaon to Arunachal Pradesh.

Meanwhile, the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), has demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter and has called a 12-hour 'Nagaon Bandh' on Saturday to protest against the scam.

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