Express press service
VIJAYAWADA: The Department of Civil Supplies has started an initiative to age test the grain to check the bad practice of mixing old rice with fresh stock. The process has been piloted by the ministry for the past two seasons.
Recently, the Union Ministry of Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs approved the adoption of the policy nationwide. Orders have also been issued to carry out age tests on the grain before transporting it to godowns in other parts of the country.
Civil Supplies Corporation director G Veerapandian said in several places that middlemen transfer subsidized rice to the black market and make money from it. Some rice millers also buy subsidized rice and send it to civilian supplies and FCI godowns after polishing it. Since the rice is stored for a long time, “adulterated” rice spoils very quickly. Taking serious note of the issue, the state government introduced an age test on grain last season.
Veerapandian said after buying grain from the farmers, the rice will be made in the mills and later the grain will be stored in the godowns. Before that, the department performs quality testing in godowns. Up to 580 bags (29 tons) will be considered as a batch and samples will be taken in the presence of the millers. If the kernels turned green or light green during the test, they are considered fresh. The charge will be returned to the millers if the beans fail the age test.
Veerapandian said methyl red, brothymol blue and ethyl alcohol are mixed with water to prepare a special solvent used for testing. Then 10ml of the special solvent is mixed with the rice sample in a test tube. After one minute, if the beans have turned green, they are considered fresh. If it turns light green, the grains are ground one to two months ago, if it turns yellow, the grain age is three months, and if it turns orange, the grain age is grain is four to five months.
After grinding the beans, artificial intelligence will be used to determine color and moisture content. The value of this machine is around 13 lakh. Apart from the civil supplies office, the machine will be made available in Vijayawada, Eluru, Kakinada, Vijayanagaram, Srikakulam and Nellore.