The Comptroller and Auditor General slammed the army for the poor quality of food items supplied to troops in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast on Tuesday, noting that the rations had rotted in some cases.
It also criticised the procurement process for vegetables, fruits and meat, pointing out that a single vendor situation had created the risk of cartels taking advantage of the lacunae in the system of purchases.
In its audit report for 2010-11 on the 'Supply Chain Management of Rations in Indian Army' between 2005 and 2008 presented to Parliament, the CAG said in nearly 100 percent samples of food items it had tested, the products' storage life had expired beyond the permissible limit for human consumption.
"Audit found that of the 11,346 samples of ration sent to three Central Forensic Labs for extension of the Estimated Storage Life, extension was granted in respect of 11,330 cases. Thus, in almost all the cases, extension was granted," the report said.
The food items supplied to the troops had violated the instructions of the Director General of Supplies and Transport in 2005, under which the edibles were to be supplied only up to three months of expiry of its prescribed ESL.
"However, the CFL in Jammu, which covers the whole of Northern Command and some parts of Western Command was found to grant extension well beyond three months of prescribed ESL, in some cases even up to 28 months. It was found that atta, sugar, rice, tea, dal, edible oil and raisins were consumed even six to 28 months after the expiry of their normal ESL," the report said.The CAG recommended that to ensure supply of good quality rations to troops, the defence ministry and the army should set a time limit for extension of ESL by taking into account the climatic conditions, beyond which under any circumstances, ESL of food items should not be extended.