“RATS have eaten all the grains” – that was what the officials said in Uttar Pradesh when it was discovered a large amount of wheat – 50,000 tonnes – was missing from the FCI godowns where it was stored. A pertinent question that arose was whether as many as 50,000 tonnes of wheat could have been eaten away by rats. No proper enquiry seems to have been made so far. The grains meant for distribution among the poor has been evidently stolen and sold in the black market.
The authorities concerned appear to have turned a blind eye as thieves took away the grains. It is also certain some of the officials of the FCI were involved in the racket. To say the least, this is a criminal happening. What is shocking is that after over six decades of Independence, we do not have proper godowns and security arrangements. There should have been long-term plans in this regard. Even those existing godowns are not fit for storage of grains. Rats and “human rats” have free and easy access to the godowns.
According to reports, many existing godowns leak when the rains come. It is disturbing that both the state government and the Centre have completely neglected proper storage of precious foodgrains. According to reports, some FIR has been registered against persons, suspected to have been involved in the case, but nothing much may come from this exercise.