CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Police are on a high alert over smuggling of ration rice to Kerala.
A special team of Civil Supplies Crime Detachment (CD) unit of Madurai seized 15 tonnes of PDS rice on Sunday while it was being smuggled to Kerala.
The truck carrying the rice was interrupted by the CD unit at Koppalur toll plaza and 300 bags of Public distribution system (PDS) rice was being transported illegally to Kerala. Each bag weighed 50 kg.
The Civil supplies department officials said the rice that is supplied free in the state is being sourced by middlemen who appoint agents across the state and transport it illegally to Kerala.
A senior officer of the civil supplies department of Tamil Nadu told IANS that in Kerala the rice is sold to rice mills at a higher price. The Civil Supplies department of Tamil Nadu has appointed several flying squads to try and prevent the smuggling of rice to the neighbouring state as it was meant for consumption of the ration card holders of Tamil Nadu.
Nagercoil, Theni and the Walayar areas are the most vulnerable checkposts on the TN-Kerala border.
Sources in the Civil Supplies department told IANS that the department has already informed the police to be part of the joint search operation to prevent rice smuggling from the state.
According to the Civil Supplies department, the rice that is given from the ration shops of Tamil Nadu is of much higher quality which was making organised gangs to smuggle it to the neighbouring state.
During the recent Onam festivities, ration rice in large quantities was smuggled out to Kerala.
In Kerala, an organised network was operating which takes the rice to the rice mills safely. Recently in the Walayar area in Kerala, two local CPI-M leaders were arrested by the Kerala Police for assisting and abetting in the smuggling of rice.