TNCSC Managing Director S. Prabhakaran told IANS: “The spoiled jaggery is being sent back. In several districts of the state, the jaggery that was spoiled has been replaced and we have asked the manufacturers to take the spoiled lot and replace them with fresh loads in the district where it has not been replaced yet.”
The Tamil Nadu government has sanctioned a whopping Rs 1,297 crore to provide Pongal gift hampers to 2.16 crore ration cardholders of the state. There are 21 items in each gift hamper.
The TNCSC Managing Director also said that inspections are being carried out at various godowns of suppliers and items like pepper that are of poor quality are being replaced.
Shop keepers and merchants of Tamil Nadu said some jaggery was mixed with sugar which has much lesser shelf life due to which the spoiled product reached the end-user.
An office-bearer of Tamil Nadu Merchants Association while speaking to IANS on condition of anonymity said, “The government had a good intention to provide gift hampers with 21 items for the people of the state who are using rice ration cards. However, the officials have looked the other way round, or else such a situation wherein a large quantity of jaggery is replaced from the gift hamper does not arise. He said that stringent checks have to be carried out at the godowns of those who are supplying items in Pongal gift hampers.”
However, the Tamil Nadu Food Safety department maintained that the jaggery that is being supplied is safe for consumption even though the shape of the jaggery is not proper.
President, Tamil Nadu Food Grains Manufacturing Association, S.P. Jayaparakasam told IANS: “If we traders had sold such semi-solid shapeless jaggery we would have been taken to task by the Food Safety Department. Similar action must be taken against those responsible. Jaggery laced with Sugar cannot deserve to be called as jaggery.”
TNCSC Managing Director said that the last batch of Pongal gift hampers was distributed on Thursday and all the cardholders will receive the Pongal gift hampers in a couple of days.