Bhopal : Food and civil supplies officials backed by state police have raided sugar mills and godowns across Madhya Pradesh in the last three days and seized 1,400 tonnes of hoarded sugar, sources said Monday.
The officials seized 400 tonnes of sugar worth Rs.1 crore from three warehouses in Morena Sunday, while 820 tonnes worth Rs.2.5 crore were seized at godowns of transporters in Indore and Gwalior, a state civil supplies department official told IANS.
“Besides, some minor stocks have been seized from many other places,” he added.
The seized sugar had been stored illegally for the last 15 days. Traders purchased it for Rs.2,200 per quintal from Maharashtra while at present its wholesale price here is around Rs.3,000 per quintal, the official said.
The major warehouses from where hoarded sugar stock has been seized are Balaji, Surajbhan and Co, and Srinivas and Co in Morena and Jawra.
“To avoid government and public eyes, the traders allegedly used rural warehouses that are meant to keep agricultural produce,” Food and Civil Supplies Joint Director Ajit Kesari told IANS.
Storing non-agricultural commodities in these warehouses is illegal. These warehouses were built on subsidies from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
“This may amount to cancellation of warehouse licenses,” Kesari said.
Meanwhile, the officials also found spurious ghee, vansapati and edible oils from the same warehouses in Morena.
“We were taken by surprise when spurious ghee and vanaspati stocks were recovered. The samples of these products are being sent to laboratory for testing and action will be taken against the culprits,” said Morena District Collector M.K. Agarwal.
Officials said 10 criminal cases have been registered against 42 people, including four transporters, for illegally stocking sugar.
Retailers said the continuous raids in the last few days had a positive impact on sugar prices.
“Raids have brought a halt to the soaring wholesale sugar price which has come down by Rs.50 to Rs.100 per quintal,” a retailer said.
Meanwhile, the food department has decided to issue licenses to sugar traders to check hoarding and control the price.
“We’ve received about 80 applications from traders dealing with sugar and we will issue them licenses after collector’s approval,” said District Food Controller Harendra Singh.