Rice stored at a number of facilities nationwide under the controversial rice-pledging scheme was rotten, missing or replaced with inferior rice, PM Office's permanent secretary ML Panadda Diskul said yesterday.
Panadda posted a message on his Facebook page yesterday revealing the initial findings of the government’s inspection of rice storage facilities, which began on Thursday.
He said many rice sacks were missing while a number of them had code numbers that did not match documents, suggesting that the original rice may have been peddled to mills and replaced by old inferior rice that would be bought by those mills at a lower price.
Besides rotten rice, some rice had not been treated to repel rice-eating insects while being stored, he said.
In some rice-storage facilities, rice had been broken into powder and the storage of rice sacks was disordered, probably in an attempt to make inspections more difficult, wrote Panadda, who questioned how the system could be so lacking in good governance and cause much hardship to rice farmers.
Meanwhile, inspections by a combined force of police and military officers at two storage facilities in Phichit found piles of rice to be subsiding.
Inspectors decided to bring in machinery to help make a more accurate inspection at the two sites. The two problematic storage facilities are located at Bang Mun Nak and Muang districts.
At Muang district, inspectors discovered 152,105 sacks of registered rice weighting a total of 15.18 tonnes. Inspectors will make a determination of its quality.
And in Amnat Charoen, inspectors found rice under the scheme was not missing although some had become rotten after being damaged by rain that fell through leaking roofs.
Inspectors tested the quality of rice in the province and if they discover any irregularities the government will prosecute those involved.
In Si Sa Ket, it appeared no irregularities had been found so far. The quality of rice inspected met the standard specified under the scheme.
The inspections were ordered by the National Council for Peace and Order.