SHILLONG, June 13 - Demanding a CBI inquiry, the National People�s Party (NPP) today accused the Congress-led Meghalaya Government of indulging in irregularities while distributing sugar under PDS in the State.
The State has been distributing sugar to the consumers at Rs 20 per kg. The Centre pays a subsidy of Rs 18.50 per kg. The rest is borne by the State after an open market purchase.
The State Government was purchasing sugar at Rs 43.20 per kg from a supplier Kendriya Bhandar in 2014 and thus had to shell out Rs 4.70 per kg from its own exchequer.
In September 2015, the Supply department called a fresh tender and rejected the lowest bidder � one Garden Court Distilleries Pvt Ltd as it quoted Rs 44.30 per kg. The department said the price was high and went back to Kendriya Bhandar for the supplies for a period of three months.
Subsequently, the Supply department floated a tender two months later. The State Government then selected Beta Edibles Processing Private Limited which quoted Rs 54,270 per metric ton or Rs 54.27 per kg of sugar, the NPP alleged.
NPP spokesperson James Sangma said why sugar was being lifted at a higher price now (over Rs 10) when just few months back it was not willing to pay less than a rupee higher.
�We demand a CBI inquiry and pending investigation, the Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Clement Marak should resign from his post,� Sangma stated. �The government has selected a bidder which would cost the exchequer an additional amount,� Sangma said adding, �We demand an explanation.�
Moreover, there are allegations that a cartel was formed and they in connivance with the Supply department officials inserted a clause in the bidding process that ensured other bidders stayed away.
The clause stated suppliers should have a packaging unit in Meghalaya. The Supply department said the packaging unit would ensure quality control.
Meanwhile, a Supply department official stated that the work order to Beta Edibles Processing Private Limited has not been given.
PTI adds: Clement Marak, however, denied the charges levelled against him and his department stating that everything was done in a transparent manner through online bidding.
�The charges are baseless. The tenders were made as transparent as possible and the matter was handled by a committee headed by principal secretary and other senior officials of the department while I am not part of it,� Marak said.
After due processes of tendering, three suppliers were found to be qualified and the lowest bidder among them was given the supply order, he said.