In order to know the fact behind this
unfortunate incident, an application under RTI (Right to Information)
Act was submitted to both Railway
Authorities and Food Corporation of India, Cuttack. The information
supplied by both the office revealed the inside story of the whole
The information provided by the offices
are as follows.
Corporation of India had booked one rake of PDS rice consisting of 41
wagons which was loaded on 9.4.2010 from Kesinga to Cuttack. However,
out of 41 wagons, only 40 wagons were reached at Cuttack on 12.4.10 and
one wagon containing 600 quintals of rice was reported missing.
one Wagon of rice missing, FCI Continued to make series of official
correspondence to Rail Authorities demanding Rs.11, 14, 178 towards cost
after one year and eight months, the said missing wagon was placed at RH,
Cuttack by Railway on 29.12.2011 for delivery to FCI.
conducted Quality Assessment by Technical expert. It was found that rice
unloaded from the wagon releases unpleasant/ obnoxious smell. The entire
stock was infested with Khapra species. As regards to quality of grains,
the entire stocks came in contact with water and were discoloured. The
damage of grains varied bag to bag. The cake formation was also noticed.
The Technical expert recommended that the Stock was not fit for human
consumption. So, FCI refused to receive the stock.
Authorities authorized Additional Chief medical superintendent, Cuttack for
quality assessment. He recommended that the rice consignment is not
fit for human consumption.
no response from Railway Authorities, FCI again wrote a letter to
Railway Authorities on 13.3.12 to settle the claim of Rs.11, 14, 178 as
request of Railway Authorities, Central Poultry Development
Organisation, Bhubaneswar made quality assessment and submitted report
that the rice is not suitable for consumption of animals and birds.
6.6.12, Railway Authorities decided in a high-level meeting to dump the
damaged rice (1206 bags) and informed the Station Manager, Cuttack to
dump the rice by 12.6.12.
rice was dumped at Jagatpur area on 8.8.12.
7.8.12, FCI wrote a letter again to the Railway Authorities to settle
claim of Rs.4,99,643 as compensation immediately by withdrawing previous
claim of Rs.11,14,178.
k. FCI is
yet to receive any compensation from Railway Authorities yet.
Even though the RTI application brought to
fore many facts, why FCI reduced its compensation claim from
Rs.11,14,178 to Rs.4,99,178 still remains a question. As only one wagon
was missing, why Railways and FCI didn’t work to settle for the missing
wagon and why FCI didn’t receive 40 wagons on record? The other question
is whether the rice transported was insured or not. If insured, how the
amount of compensation claimed can differ? All these questions finger at
how careless the officers of both parties are towards various welfare
programmes implemented by the government to benefit the people.
[Author is the State
Convener of Right to Food Campaign, Odisha. He, also, leads the
Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhiyan.]