90 temporary staff of procurement centres dismissed by TNCSC

Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) has terminated 90 temporary staff of direct purchase centres (DPC) across the state recently for allegedly demanding and collecting bribes from farmers while procuring paddy during kharif marketing season (KMS) 2021-22. 

The bill writer, security and assistants of DPCs who were posted temporarily last year were terminated last week following the submission of an inquiry report into the complaints of bribery. The majority of the dismissed employees were from the DPCs in delta districts.

During the current paddy (samba) procurement for the current kharif season which commenced in January this year, the staff of DPCs allegedly gave preference to those who paid a bribe of `100 to `120 per quintal for procurement, and forced others to wait for more than 48 hours, alleged farmers associations from delta districts in their petition submitted to Chief Minister MK Stalin, food minister and collectors of delta region last month.  

Following this, the department of food and cooperation stepped up vigilance in paddy procurement and involved the CID wing of civil supplies. “We have constituted six committees to supervise the procurement of paddy for the current season. The officials have been directed to monitor the activities closely,” said a senior official from the food department.

As of February 18, 16.58 lakh metric tonnes of paddy procured from 2,277 DPCs and `3,300 crore have been released to 2.5 lakh farmers. About 13.5 lakh tonnes of paddy procured from ten delta districts – Karur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur, Tiruuchi, Thanjavur, Cuddalore, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Nagapattinam and Mayiladuthurai.

C Chandrakumar, General Secretary, TNCSC Employees Association (AITUC) said TNCSC has collected a penalty of `18 crore in the last two years from temporary staff and others for the weight loss in paddy bags during storage at DPCs. “There should be a scientific mechanism to address the issue at the earliest. A part of the money collected from the farmers also was shared to intermediate and higher officials to pay the penalty for weight loss,” he said.

Last December Food Minister R Chakkarapani announced the feasibility to increase the bag weight to 50 kg from the existing 40 kg would be studied. However, no decision has been made yet.

This article has been republished from New Indian Express.