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A glass full of corruption

I have been expressing concern over the gay abandon with which politicians indulge in corrupt practices. Through the past decades we have several instances of land grabbing, cornering of government contracts and executing these with poor quality and speed money collected at different levels for ‘liaison’ work. There have been several instances of illegal mining that range from quarrying sand to granite.

A recent one relates to the systematic adulteration of milk supplied to Tamil Nadu Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd. (Aavin). A political bigwig of AIADMK, N Vaidyanathan, based in Salem, has reportedly perfected this practice with the connivance of several senior officials of Aavin. He owns over a dozen milk tankers; In each one of these  over 10 per cent of quality milk was drained out, replaced by water each day. Milk from several such tankers have been adulterated. Estimates put the value of money generated this way to lakhs of rupees each day.

All the care bestowed in collection of milk, chilling it, homogenising it and moving it in refrigerated vehicles go for a toss by the adulterator, diluting it with water of unknown quality.

Tamil Nadu is not unfamiliar with such practices. Until a couple of years ago, such practices were widespread in adulterating diesel and petrol. The money swindled this way ran to hundreds of crores of rupees every month. After decades of efforts, oil marketing companies devised systems to curb this practice with more effective locking and sealing systems, as also taking recourse to the GPS to keep track of movement of the oil tankers.

Nearly two decades ago IE pointed to widespread adulteration of fuel dispensed to motor vehicles. A survey of 21 petrol retail outlets revealed such adulteration of all the samples tested. When senior advocate K Vijayan filed a case against oil marketing companies, this was re-confirmed. The OMCs terminated dealerships of several retailers. But in a system where the retail outlets were awarded as political patronage, before long  most of these got back their dealership.

And despite all this, Aavin has been ignorant  of the possibility of such a transfer of technology from oil to milk! The milk scandal is part of a malaise that is deep rooted in society nurtured by widespread corruption. This has spread like a cancer. It needs cleansing pronto.


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