Chandigarh, Oct 6 (PTI) The Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Department found 21,728 bags of illegally hoarded rice in six mills during raids in Sangrur district, officials said.

Rakesh Kumar Singla, the chief vigilance officer of the department, said 9,325 bags of rice were found at Shiva Rice and General Mills, 3,852 at Duggan Rice Mill, 1,193 at Shree Rama Rice Mills, 2,810 at Punjab Paper Board Rice Mills, 1,500 in Trishala Food and 3,084 at Bansal Agro in Sangrur during the raid operation.

The department has been conducting a drive against unscrupulous rice mills, indulging in illegal activity.

These rice mills were allegedly trying to “recycle public distribution system (PDS) rice meant for the poor into the milling process,” Singla said.

Some rice mill owners 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, he said.

He said the department was writing to the Mandi board as well as the Sales Tax Department for action and will also proceed with criminal action against them.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.