Opposition walks out of Kerala Assembly over irregularities in Supplyco

Thiruvananthapuram, December 22, 2010

The entire Congress-led opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) staged a walk-out from the Legislative Assembly today protesting against alleged irregularities in the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco).

Leader of the Opposition in Kerala Assembly Oommen Chandy led the walk-out after Speaker K Radhakrishnan denied them permission to move an adjournment motion on the issue.

The opposition also demanded a judicial inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the distribution of food items by Supplyco.

Kerala Congress (M) leader K M Mani said the government had not taken any action even after getting a report from the vigilance department regarding widespread irregularities in Supplyco.

Countering Food and Civil Supplies minister C Diwakaran's statement that only two items were found to be adulterated, he said the analysts' report pointed out adulteration in about 18 items. There were reports of presence of harmful chemicals in the food items which were supplied, he said.

Mr Mani alleged that Supplyco bought low quality groceries from suppliers. The government had not taken action against senior officials who were responsible for the irregularities, he said.

Mr Diwakaran said strict action was taken against the responsible officials. Four officials were suspended and one was terminated from service, he said.

He also said 14 suppliers had been blacklisted and their deposits forfeited. The government had also stopped payment to them, he said.

Stating that the minister received complaints regarding malpractices in Supplyco in 2009, Mr Chandy alleged that the government had not taken any action till now. The order for blacklisting the suppliers and stoppage payment was only issued yesterday after the issue came up in the High Court. The government took 14 days to initiate action after it got a report regarding the irregularities on December 3, he alleged.

On the demand for a judicial inquiry, Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said sufficient action would be taken based on the vigilance report. A judicial inquiry would only delay the proceedings, he added.

But the opposition refused to relent and stood firm on the demand for a judicial probe.


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