TIRUPATTUR: The continuing seizure of PDS rice from various areas in Tirupattur district despite various safeguards has resulted in officials being unable to understand how smugglers manage to get rice and try to move loads through different transport modes to neighbouring AP or Karnataka.
A porous border between Tirupattur district and AP at Pillur and between Vellore district and AP through Christianpet near Katpadi are the key points through which rice is moved. However, tough checks at Christianpet resulted in rice moved from various areas in Tiruvannamalai, Krishnagiri and Vellore districts and being routed through Vellore and Tirupattur districts being seized, sources said.
Tirupattur Collector Amar Kushwha said, “many interior village roads which lack check posts are the routes opted by smugglers. There are five checkposts of which only three have CCTV cameras. We have decided to provide such cameras to other checkposts also. We will request the government for more staff and related infrastructure once we complete a law and order meeting shortly.” Checks at designated border points were increased recently, but former Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu writing to Chief Minister MK Stalin on this issue has irked district officials who said, “smuggling continued despite their best efforts to curb it.”
Earlier, rice was smuggled on trains where packed bags would be loaded when trains slowed near Jolarpet. After patrolling was intensified rice was moved by road and huge quantities were seized in Vaniyambadi and Madanur on many occasions.
While vehicles and PDS rice were seized and drivers arrested, one wonders why police are still unable to zero in on the ‘big fish.’ “With PDS shops following biometric identification and consumers using smart cards, the only way rice can be collected in huge quantities is by getting it directly from cardholders by offering them money, a source said.