Onion Procurement Corruption: Two NAFED Officials Transferred for 'Misconduct'

NAFED officials Sunil Kumar Singh and Himanshu from Delhi and Nashik office respectively have been transferred on charges of misconduct.
File Photo
File Photo

Pune: The ongoing onion procurement by NAFED and NCCF has been marred by corruption allegations. Two officials accused of misconduct have been transferred, and investigations are underway into farmer producer companies, purchase and sale societies, and federations involved in the process. The central government has also halted payments for onion procurement to these federations.

Representatives of onion producers and farmer organizations have consistently accused the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) of corruption in the onion procurement process.

These allegations have been substantiated, leading to action against two NAFED officials following an investigation by NAFED Chairman Jethabhai Ahir and a central committee.

Sunil Kumar Singh, Assistant Managing Director of the Onion Procurement Division in Delhi, and Himanshu, Accountant at the Nashik office, have been transferred immediately.

It was discovered that onions from a single warehouse were falsely claimed to be purchased first by NCCF and then by NAFED, indicating procurement fraud. Investigations are ongoing into all farmer producer companies, purchase and sale societies, and federations involved in the process.

Payments for onion procurement are being withheld until the investigations are completed. Due to delays in procurement by federations, contracts are being canceled and reissued. NCCF has had to halt procurement multiple times.

Minister Abdul Sattar stated during the current session that NCCF and NAFED have procured a total of 175,000 tons of onions. However, reports suggest that the actual procurement by both organizations exceeds 300,000 tons, raising questions about the exact figures.

NCCF and NAFED have issued tenders to procure around 500,000 tons of onions. Both organizations operate under the Consumer Affairs Department of the Central Government and have been criticized for their lack of transparency, as they do not disclose procurement and sales information.

"The onion procurement figures announced by Minister Abdul Sattar are false. Sattar, along with the state government and its ministers, have zero knowledge about the procurement process. The state government should disclose the exact quantity of onions procured from each village and each farmer. Do not try to suppress the corruption by merely transferring officials, or we will resort to severe protests," said Bharat Dighole, President of the Onion Growers Association.

"NAFED and NCCF work for consumer interests, not for the benefit of farmers. Therefore, procurement by these organizations should be stopped. During shortages, the central government should procure onions directly from farmers in the open market. Farmers are continually sacrificed for consumer interests," said Kuber Jadhav, Coordinator of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana.

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