GUWAHATI, July 2: The State Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Department is fast losing its grip on a number of consumer goods which it had a grip on earlier. This is what a section of top officials in the department feels.
Talking to this reporter, a top-level official of the department said: “The department is fast losing its grip on a lot of consumer goods following the implementation of newer policies and schemes by the Centre. We’re acting in accordance with the guidelines of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 only.”
Such an unofficial admission on the part of the higher-up official of the department is significant as it has come at a time when there are allegations from certain quarters that the State Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs is becoming a department of onion and potato only.
The top official further said: “Though special squads under the various deputy commissioners carry out investigations and raids in the market for irregularities whenever required, officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department also undertake monitoring under normal circumstances. Acting under the Act, 1955 from 2014 to March 2018 we conducted 5,349 raids leading the cancellation of 62 trade licenses, besides suspension 214 ones. This apart, the raids during the period led to the prosecution of 138 traders, among whom twenty were arrested.”
It is also a fact that over 200 posts have been lying vacant in the department. Will the present Food, Civil Supply and Consumer Affairs Minister, Phani Bhushan Choudhury, do something tangible to revive the lost image of the department?