Chandigarh, Sep 27 (PTI) Punjab’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu Thursday ordered a surprise check of 10 rice mills in Ferozepur during which over 91,000 bags of illegally hoarded rice were found in four of the mills. Also Read - Uber Partners With NHA to Provide Cab Service For COVID-19 Healthcare Workers

The raids were led by chief vigilance officer of the Food and Civil Supplies department, an official release said here. Also Read - Don't Panic, This is Delhi Government's WhatsApp Number: Kejriwal on Delhi's Corona Battle

It said one rice mill had illegally kept 1,10,000 bags of paddy of last year, which was equivalent of 55,275 bags of rice. Also Read - Air India Halts All Bookings Till April 30, But What About Employees' Pay?

Another mill had 58,000 bags paddy of last year equivalent to 29,145 bags of rice.

Two other mills had allegedly hoarded 2,700 bags and 1,200 bags of rice, respectively, the release said.

The Punjab minister took a serious note of “attempts of recycling public distribution system (PDS) rice meant for the poor into the milling process”.

“Apparently, these rice mills must have procured PDS rice, bought in black market last year from other states, and saved it to recycle it in the coming milling season by showing bogus procurement of the crop through fictitious bills,” the release said.

The minister has ordered the Food and Civil Supplies department to be more vigilant and said, “No fictitious billing what so ever will be permitted in the state”.

He said the department has handed over the details of the four mills to the Sales Tax Department for further legal action as per the law.

Ashu added that his department was contemplating cancellation of registration of millers who indulged in malpractices.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.