Jharkhand could have bought PoS machines for Rs 78 cr; it spent three times more renting them from 2016-21: Cong MLA
The Jharkhand government spent Rs 250 crore on electronic vending machine (EPoS) rental for the distribution of grocery grains when it could have bought them for Rs 78 crore, a congressional MLA said on Monday.
Over 5 years – from August 2016 to August 2021 – the state paid an average of Rs.4 billion each month in rent for the machines used for biometric authentication of beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act.
The issues were revealed on Monday when Congress MLA Pradeep Yadav interviewed his own party colleague Rameshwar Oraon, who holds the portfolio for food, public distribution and civilian supplies, during the winter session of the State Assembly.
“I came into this house and asked an important question … the government has spent over Rs 250 billion on EPoS machines in the past five years … while the unit cost of this machine is Rs 24,910 and the food department has reported the amount.” âCould have been Rs 78.67 crore,â said Yadav.
Yadav also questioned the “huge” interest charged on rent. âYou buy a car at 6-7% interest, but the interest rate here is huge … There has to be another solution to this problem. That’s prey, âhe said. He also asked why the state had been billed Rs 22 billion a year for maintaining EpoS equipment when the same could have been done “for less than Rs 10 billion a year”.
Minister Rameshwar Oraon responded that the machines were rented from the previous government, led by BJP leader Raghubar Das, and that the government has now owned the EPoS machines and only pays maintenance fees as of August 2021, according to the agreement. However, he denied that the maintenance costs were “wasteful”.
âNow to the question of why Rs 22 crore and not Rs 10 crore. The problem is that maintenance has to be done by the same provider. If we had bought and serviced new machines, it would have cost the government more than 100 billion rupees … and on the recommendation of the technical committee, we didn’t buy any more, “said Oraon, adding,” We saved money. “
Yadav replied again by saying, “The previous government had committed a fraud and the ministry should accept it.”
The Raghubar Das government had introduced the EPoS machines after the beneficiaries were required to link their Aadhar cards to the grocery cards. However, the Right to Food Campaign, a group of NGOs working for food security, criticized the move, stating that the lack of the Internet or technical disruptions in access to food grains had led to “starvation”.