Fake khadi masks in Supplyco kits, Vigilance begins probe

Thiruvananthapuram: The Vigilance and Anti Corruption Bureau (VACB) has initiated a preliminary inquiry into the complaints that lakhs of "khadi"  masks which were distributed to people along with the provision kit last year were fake.

The probe has been entrusted with Thiruvananthapuram Special Investigation Unit (2) of the VACB.  The probe  will cover the masks which were distributed along with the  kit in February.

'Manorama' had reported last February that fake khadi masks had been included in the kits. With complaints coming up about the poor quality of the masks, the authorities stopped including these in the kit.

The probe has now been ordered on a complaint filed by INTUC leader Kadakampally Manoj.

The State Khadi and Gramodyog Board had supplied masks at Rs 12 a piece to Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) which was responsible for preparing the kits. With two masks being given per kit, the board had received orders for a total of 1.72 crore  masks.

There were reports that the Board had intervened in bringing fake khadi products from other states and selling these through the khadi outlets in Kerala. 

It was clear that the Board had procured masks from institutions which had no connection whatsoever with khadi. Khadi products should be handwoven in  handlooms. The sale of all other products through khadi institutions has been prohibited by the Khadi Commission which functions under the Central government.

The government gave the nod to the Khadi Board to include khadi masks in the kit to solve the crisis in the state's khadi sector due to Covid pandemic. It is suspected that a huge scam has taken place in the sale of fake products in the name of khadi masks.

Onam kit distribution from today

The distribution of free Onam provision kits will resume from ration shops across the state on Tuesday. Of the 90.87 lakh ration card holders, so far kits have been distributed among 69.73 lakh ration card holders. The distribution of kits had stopped as ration shops were closed for the last three days.


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