Friday, September 14, 2012

Labyrinthine corruption in CSD Canteens: Jawans sold spurious and date expired foodstuff

Courtesy: Mail Today
Buying defence canteen products? You might be compromising with your health
Abhishek Bhalla
New Delhi, Sunday, September 2, 2012 | 09:27 IST
Families of defence personnel buying cheaper beverages and grocery items from the canteen stores department (CSD) may be compromising with their health.
The Controller of Defence Accounts (CDA) has questioned the quality of products being sold at the CSD at subsidised rates.
According to the laid-out guidelines, food items, liquor and beverages have to be scrutinised for hygiene standards. This, the CDA believes, is not being done at the CDS. Hygiene is not the only matter of concern. The defence auditor has also objecting to the "arbitrary and opaque" manner of functioning of the CSD, leading to "poor quality products with little brand value" being supplied to the defence personnel.
Here is an example of the bizarre functioning. A floor wiper manufacturer is also a supplier of Kesaria Thandai in the defence canteen.
These issues have been highlighted by the CDA in its recent correspondence to the Ministry of Defence. "It is incomprehensible how a wiper manufacturer is accepted to supply thandai to the CSD and that too without factory inspection and hygiene report," one of the communications between the Defence auditor and ministry said.
Mail Today is in the possession of a series of letters sent by Savitur Prasad, principal controller, CDA, to the ministry questioning the functioning of the CSD.
The communication made available to Delhi based RTI activist Subhash Agarwal indicts the canteen for being "wrapped in corrupt practices, thereby cheating several families of defence personnel dependent on it". The CDA points out that the defence personnel are forced to buy low-quality products from unknown firms. Nargis tea, Preet Lite cooking oil, Valeda herbal cream and Nuzen Herbal gold hair oil are just some of the lesser- known brands that are common at the CSD. Objecting to the "ineligible" firms supplying products to the canteen, the CDA said: "It's a travesty of faith that age-old loyalties of defence personnel have been breached." This is not the first time the CSD has faced flak for its operations.
The Comptroller and Auditor General had highlighted the "irregularities" in the CSD in its 2010-11 report.
"Evidence gathered in the audit indicated that in the absence of relevant controls, there was a significant risk of sale of perished stores to the consumers. From 2003 to 2009, out of 11,254 samples referred to the composite food laboratory, 349 (3.1 per cent) were found unsatisfactory. It took about 1 to 13 months for the groceries and two months for food items to obtain the test results. By that time, the stock of unfit items was sold," the report said.
The Defence auditor, in its May 16, 2012, communication, has reiterated the objections.
"I am writing to highlight the malady that ails the Canteen Stores Department and requires immediate attention. Instead of groping in the dark about the functioning of the CSD, which is considered to be a mascot of organised procurement system, an insight will reveal the labyrinthine corruption prevailing in the organisation," the letter read.
Defence officials, though not displeased with the CSD products, want quality check of every item.
"If the CDA is constructive in its approach there is no problem. We definitely need the highest level of efficiency in the working of CSD. In the past also there have been charges that sub-standard products are being sold at the canteen. They (CSD) are supposed to have quality checks and they should be carried out," a former naval officer, Commodore (retd) Uday Bhaskar, said.
Buying defence canteen products? You might be compromising with your health
Click here to read all about the CSD with links
Comment: The spurious and unhygienic foodstuff sold in CSD canteens is also finding its way into the civil market. The electrical products sold are also sometimes fakes. The ISI marking is given based on bribes palmed off to the Testing Agencies. The sole Mission of CSD is to spin money by any corrupt means. The MOD and AHQ are party to duping the Jawans. The complete civilian military nexus needs a shake- up and complete overhaul from top to the lower rung. The CSD Depots are filled with RATS and Scumbags.

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