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SAD demands CBI probe into Rs 500 crore wheat and flour home delivery scheme scam of AAP govt

AMRIK SINGH | March 04, 2024 05:12 PM

CHANDIGARH: The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today demanded a CBI probe into the home delivery service of wheat and flour in Punjab by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government asserting Rs 500 crore would be looted from the State treasury by allotting this work to Delhi based companies who were very close to AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal.

Addressing a press conference here, senior party leaders Parambans Singh Romana and Winnerjit Goldy said contracts worth Rs 655 crore had been awarded to two companies owned by Kejriwal confidant RK Mittal without advertising the tender document in any newspaper of Punjab. “The entire tender was tailor made for these selected companies, one of whom – RK Associates supplied food in Shatabdi trains”.

The leaders said a scam was being perpetrated at every stage of the home delivery service with the companies being awarded a delivery cost of Rs 24 crore per month to deliver wheat and flour at a cost of Rs 3 per kilogram within a radius of eight kilometers only. They said similarly Rs 3 per kilogram rate had been awarded to repackage wheat at a cost of Rs 14.40 crore per month and Rs 5.50 per kilogram to mill wheat to supply as flour at a cost of Rs 17.60 crore per month. They said this entire cost if calculated for the entire year came to Rs 384 crore.

Mr Parambans Romana and Mr Winnerjit Goldy said the companies would use 16 lakh Markfed bags to distribute both wheat and flour and that the same would be retained with the companies which would result in a pilferage of Rs 108 crore. They said the bag with chief minister Bhagwant Mann’s picture which would be delivered to the beneficiaries along with wheat and flour would entail a further cost of Rs 125 crore. Besides this the leaders said Rs 65, 000 per month was being paid for management of wheat and flour at 800 company shops which would be manned by two persons.

Asserting that the State would be burdened to the tune of Rs 655 crore by this scheme whose sole purpose was to woo the electorate in other States prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the SAD leaders said the same was being done by ration depot holders at a cost of Rs 47 paisa per kilogram and involved a total cost of only Rs 45 crore per annum. “This is a massive scam as the entire home delivery can be done at a fraction of the cost”, the leaders asserted.

Mr Romana and Mr Goldy also disclosed that a further Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore were likely to be spent on advertising the scheme in Punjab and in other States entailing a total cost of Rs 1, 000 crore to the State exchequer. “It is clear that at least Rs 500 crore is being pilfered to finance AAP at the cost of Punjab and this deserves a CBI probe”, the leaders added.

Punjab Depot Dealers Federation president Sukhwinder Kanjla said besides taking away the livelihood of 18, 000 depot holders as well as others associated with them, the scheme would also inconvenience the beneficiaries. He said the depot holders were giving wheat to the beneficiaries for a period of three months in one go and were available round the clock while now beneficiaries would get wheat and flour every month at specific times during the day which would not be convenient for daily wagers.

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