Jayawardene orders MPCS to distribute spoilt rice

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 October 2002, 19:51 GMT]
The management of the Trincomalee Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society is in a dilemma following instruction by the Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Minister Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene personally to distribute 950 bags of rice, which has been condemned as unfit for human consumption by the Government Agent and co-operative officials.

The MPCS that is responsible for the distribution of dry ration to all internally displaced peoples (IDP) in the entire Trincomalee district receives rice under the World Food Programme (WFP). In past it received WFP rice from Vavuniya warehouse.

Suddenly Trincomalee MPCS had been told by the Vavuniya Government Agent to get down WPF rice from Colombo warehouse instead of Vavuniya. Accordingly it has received three lorry loads of rice (950 bags) from Kelaniya warehouse in Colombo last week

"When we checked the rice it was found to be unfit for human consumption. Even today we received two more lorries with rice of same quality. We did not unload that rice," said MPCS general manger in a letter to the Government Agent dated 3 October.

After inspection the Government Agent said the rice brought by two lorries was also unfit for human consumption.

The Minister of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene suddenly Tuesday morning telephoned the General Manager of the Trincomalee MPCS and questioned him why he has not distributed the said three-lorry loads of rice (950 bags) earlier sent from Kelaniya warehouse in Colombo among the IDPs in Trincomalee district. The GM Mr.T.Balagengatharan replied the Minister that the said rice has been found unfit for human consumption and has been stacked in the MPCS stores to be sent back to Colombo.

When the Minister instructed the GM verbally over the telephone to distribute the said rice to IDPs, the General Manager of Trincomalee MPCS replied," I cannot distribute any foodstuff to consumers if it's found unfit for human consumption whoever interfered. We will consider your instruction if you give it in writing."

Thereafter within few minutes the minister's instruction was faxed to the GM of the Trincomalee MPCS. The Additional Secretary to the Ministry Mr. D.S.Edirisinghe stated in the fax message dated 8.10.2002;"This confirms the telephone conversation the Minister Dr.Jayalath Jayawardene had with you today on the above subject. As instructed please take action to distribute rice transported and delivered to you from WFP rice for three months-July, August and September, 2002 without delay. Since the IDPs have to be provided with dry ration without delay, you are requested to arrange for distribution immediately and report progress."

The copies of the Minister's instruction has been sent to the Government Agent for information and to the Provincial Commissioner of Co-operative development to ensure distribution by MPCS and to the World Food Programme Project Co-coordinator in Trincomalee for information.

As several co-operatives in the district have refused to remove the said rice for distribution among the IDPs because of its inferior quality, the Trincomalee MPCS is now in a quandary how to dispose the said rice as instructed by the Minister. However co-operators in Trincomalee feel why the ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Refugees takes extra-ordinary interest in distributing the rice, which has been condemned as unfit for human consumption instead of withdrawing it and order fresh issue of quality rice to the IDPs.

 

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