Buck stops at inspectors
Calcutta, Sept. 18: The government today put the blame on ration inspectors in Bankura, who allegedly did not go for checks or keep their bosses posted, for the scarcity in shops and overflowing stocks in godowns.
“Our inspectors are to be blamed for Sunday’s violence. They had not reported the non-availability of foodgrain in ration shops,” a senior official of the food department said.
Bankura has 31 inspectors and 19 sub-inspectors to supervise the 1,226 ration shops in the district.
They report to the district controller of modified rationing. The post is vacant for the past month.
Himadri Shekhar Das, the assistant controller, said none of the inspectors had informed him about any hoarding of foodgrain in the one month that he has been in charge.
“I had asked all my inspectors and sub-inspectors to properly monitor stocks in ration shops on my return from a meeting in Calcutta on September 11. They never told me that the people were not getting foodgrain in ration shops for long periods,” he said.
Das said the inspectors should:
run a daily check on stocks in ration shops
report hoarding to the district authorities
monitor the boards at the shops to ascertain if there are discrepancies in prices and stocks.
Dinabandhu Bauri, 45, of Radhamohanpur said the villagers had repeatedly told the inspector about the non-availability of rice and wheat.
On Sunday, a mob there attacked CPM leaders railing against US imperialism as they refused to hear complaints against ration dealers.
The villagers alleged that most of the corrupt ration dealers were active CPM supporters.
District CPM leader Amiya Patra alleged that the dealers were hand in glove with the inspectors.
Food minister Paresh Adhikari met senior officials of his department in Calcutta.
“A probe has been ordered. We are trying to find out if some of the inspectors were in league with the ration shop owners,” he said.
Adhikari briefed chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee about the probe and promised “steps to set things right”.