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Rice rots in cop godowns

Burdwan, Aug. 23: Rice, wheat, pulses and cooking oil worth lakhs of rupees are rotting in police godowns in this district since April, when the state government stopped supplying rations to the force.

The unused stock is lying mainly at the two storehouses here and in Durgapur and Asansol, from where the ration used to be distributed to about 5,000 police constables and other employees of the department.

“These stocks had arrived even before the rationing system came to an end. However, those were not distributed among those eligible to receive them,” alleged Mahesh Jha, the district secretary of the Non-Gazetted Police Karmachari Samity.

“There are even some policemen who are not able to redeem due slips. We have approached the police superintendent several times, but to no avail,” claimed Jha.

The policemen’s association secretary said the two policemen’s unions had held several joint meetings and had also requested the police superintendent not to allow these stocks to be ruined.

The godowns in Burdwan have 185 quintals of rice, 55 quintals of wheat, 51 quintals of lentils, 13 quintals of sugar and several cans of mustard oil. The stock is worth nearly Rs 400,000. The goods were bought, through a tender, every six months.

Each godown is being guarded by five constables. However, all the staff of the rationing department, other than these guards and an assistant sub-inspector, have been deployed elsewhere.

Sources said the stocks were bought in January 2002, but disbursement was stopped even before the state government issued the directive to stop the ration system.

Police associations have also suggested to the department in Writers’ Buildings that the stock be sold and the money utilised for the development of policemen’s accommodation, the sources said.

According to sources at the state police headquarters at Writers’ Buildings, the finance department is looking into the locked up stocks and has sent teams from Writers’ Buildings to each district to review the situation.

Burdwan police superintendent B.. Ramesh refused to comment.

“This is an internal matter and nothing to do with the public. It is not possible for me to comment on this internal issue,” said the police official.

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