Shillong, May 17: Congress Lok Sabha MP, Vincent Pala has expressed surprise over the stoic silence of the United Democratic Party (UDP) an ally in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government over the alleged “rice scam”.
Pala said that the UDP was in the forefront for demanding an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL).
“People in the UDP like Metbah Lyngdoh (president) and Jemino Mawthoh (general secretary) had demanded an enquiry into the alleged anomalies in the MeECL, but today it is silent. The UDP must demand for an enquiry and clarify on the issue because the portfolio (Social Welfare) is being handled by the UDP,” he said.
Taking a dig at the alliance partners NPP and UDP, Pala sated that the former had stated during the pandemic the public of the state should eat only rice and vegetables during the lockdown due to Covid-19.
“But what is happening now is that the poor can’t even get access to rice. So should they eat only vegetables,” the Shillong MP asked.
Meanwhile, Pala has demanded an inquiry into the alleged seizure of one lakh bags of rice from a godown at Boko in Assam’s Kamrup district.
With the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma recently stating that there is no scam, the Congress MP said, “Only an inquiry into the matter would reveal whether or not there are any irregularities.”
Meanwhile, the Social Welfare department clarified that the seized rice was allotted by the Social Welfare Department from FCI to the approved manufacturer of food items under the Supplementary Nutrition Programme of the ICDS Scheme.
Social Welfare Minister, Kyrmen Shylla said that Continental Milkose Ltd lifted the allotted quota for the state for processing the same into Micro Nutrient Energy Dense Fortified Food and therefore the allegation of diversion of rice does not arise.
Shylla also maintained that the seized rice from Boko, Assam is not the PDS rice meant for general distribution or as Covid-19 relief rice during the pandemic as alleged.