Goa minister Govind Gaude has claimed that bureaucratic negligence led to the rotting of 241 tonnes of tur dal, a key kitchen staple, in the state during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
Gaude was the state civil supplies minister in the then Pramod Sawant-led cabinet when the tur dal was procured. He is now the sports minister in the present Sawant government.
Gaude said he had asked bureaucrats to take care of the excess food grains kept in godowns. “I will not term it as a scam, but it is certainly negligence on part of the bureaucracy due to which the tur dal was left to rot,” he said.
Goa Forward Party chief Vijai Sardesai last week demanded an investigation by central agencies into the rotting of 241 tonnes of tur dal in 2020. The Sawant government had last week suspended then civil supplies director Siddhivinayak Naik, holding him responsible for leaving the food grains to rot in godowns.
Gaude said the civil supplies department had procured 408 tonnes of tur dal during the pandemic, fearing a shortage in the market. “We did not want Goa to face scarcity of food grains due to which such a procurement was done,” he said.
The Fair Price Shop (FPS) owners took only a limited quantity of dal and the rest of the stock was left in the godowns, the minister said. “When tur dal continued to remain in the godowns for three months, I had told officials to give it to FPS owners on a credit basis or sell it in the open market, or dispose of it through a contractor,” he said. But, the officials did not do so and the stock rotted in the godowns, he said.