Plastic rice being distributed to beneficiaries in PDS is rumour: Odisha Food Supplies Minister

Bhubaneswar: Minister of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak clarified today that no ‘plastic rice’ is being distributed to Odisha beneficiaries in the public distribution system (PDS).

In a first, the rice presently being distributed in Malkangiri was done as a pilot project. The rice has been added with vitamins and some people are making baseless claims. After awareness campaigns were organised across the district, beneficiaries came to know the fact, the minister added.

Administrations concerned will make denizens aware in the districts where such allegations are coming up. One kilogram of vitamins is being added to a quintal of rice and then distributed in all districts in the State since February. Rice duly tested in government-approved laboratories, and in turn, green-signaled by the testing facilities is usually distributed in PDS, the minister further said.

On the other hand, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan wrote to Union Minister of Consumer Affairs and Food & Public Distribution Piyush Goyal seeking the latter’s intervention in this regard and also requesting Goyal to direct officials concerned to undertake suitable measures on an urgent basis.

There have been some distressing news reports in the media coming from Lamataput of Koraput, Sadar block of Balasore and Badabahal locality of Sundargarh district of Odisha. It is imperative that such apprehensions be investigated and quelled in a proactive manner, Pradhan wrote to Goyal.

Fortified rice, which is a mix of fortified rice kernels (FRKs) and normal rice, is being distributed under the PDS. It has added nutrients like folic acid, iron and vitamin B-12. The texture and taste of the fortified rice might have created confusion and apprehension among beneficiaries, an official said.

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