Import of substandard wheat
The issue of import of poor quality wheat will certainly leave a poor taste, literally in some cases, in the mouth of the public. Several questions have arisen from the handling of the issue. What, for example, are we to make of the food ministry's claims that the quality conforms to the contract specifications when the BCSIR report states that the samples supplied to it showed that the quantity of broken and shrunken kernels exceeded the specified limit? And as per government rules such food grains should be rejected.
Why, we ask, was a shipment that was substandard ab initio, accepted in the first place? We would also like to ask why the food ministry was entrusted to conduct the inquiry when it was the food ministry that was a direct stakeholder in the imbroglio. Why wasn't an independent inquiry ordered in the matter? The people would like to know what the actual parameters of food grain import are, and what safeguards are applied to ensure safe consumption of the cereal.
It seems that the government has been at great pains to defend the indefensible. It is trying to justify an import that, from reports appearing in the media, is substandard and unfit for human consumption. And instead of taking steps to see that such things don't recur, it is trying to pull the wool over our eyes. This will set a very bad precedent if not rectified.