Agartala: The Opposition has demanded a high-level inquiry into the implementation of Chief Minister’s Covid Special Relief Package, which was launched early this week to provide dry ration to seven lakh poor families of the state aiming to extend support during the current wave of Covid pandemic.
Both Congress and CPI-M demanded a high-level independent inquiry into the alleged corruption and asked the government to stop procurement of ration items immediately, instead transfer the equal amount of funds to the accounts of beneficiaries, which will provide them immediate benefit of their requirement.
According to allegations, Tripura government in a notification on May 24, ordered MARKFED without tender to supply seven items – one liter Mustard oil, two kilo Masoor dal, 500 gm Soybean, two kilo Potato, one kilo Onion, 100 gm Jeera powder and 250 gm turmeric powder for seven lakh families at retail price rate. The state government didn’t even make any comparison of rates quoted by MARKFED.
The Opposition alleged with the instruction of a vested quarter of the top level of the government, MARKFED quoted Mustard oil (one liter pouch) Rs 186, which is selling highest at Rs 160 in wholesale markets of Tripura.
Similarly, Masoor dal quoted Rs 107 per kg against the wholesale price of Rs 90, Soyabean Rs 166 against the wholesale price of Rs 90, potato Rs 20 against Rs 12, Jira powder Rs 50 against Rs 35 and turmeric powder Rs 63.5 against Rs 40.
“The government avoided tender process referring the provisions of Disaster Management Act but in the supply order, it is mentioned that only 20 percent of the ration to be supplied in 15 days and rest 80 percent can be supplied in next 20 days, which indicated there is no emergency to the government,” alleged veteran Congress leader Gopal Roy adding that the entire process is illegal and a clear attempt of looting public fund.
He questioned how the government has finalised the rates of the items on the basis of retail price when the procurement is bulk in nature and must have to be procured from the wholesaler or C&F agents after due negotiations with the manufacturers?
“The government or any department has no right to fix the price of any essential commodity unless it is so done by the central government. As per the prevailing system, the government only collects prices from the market and uploads them to the portal of the Consumer Affairs department. Moreover, without any technical specification, the government cannot pass the supply order of essential commodities,” Roy added.