The Tamil Nadu government has taken a decision to procure the eggs required for the mid-day meal schemes in schools from poultry farmers directly. As per reports, the reform in procurement will now allow only poultry farmers to take part in the tender process for supplying eggs intended for the scheme.
The new decision also has reduced the tender period from one year to six months. Earlier, the tenders were issued for one year and it allowed middlemen also to take part in it.
Based on the new norms, poultry farmers with more than Rs 10 crore as annual turnover for the past three years are eligible to apply. However, up to three farmers can apply together if their combined annual turnover crosses Rs 10 crore. Also, the applicants must be capable of producing at least 1 lakh eggs a day.
The egg procurement process of Tamil Nadu was the subject of controversy recently when Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan alleged that there was a scam worth Rs 5,000 crore in the procurement of eggs for the noon-meal scheme for government schools in Tamil Nadu.
The ministerâ€™s accusation came after the Income Tax department raided the premises of Christy group, which had the monopoly over the supply of eggs for the TN government. Following the raids, the TN government had rejected the companyâ€™s bid for the supply of eggs during the next academic year.
The state government, however, had rubbished the claims of the minister and said that the IT raids were conducted for alleged tax evasion and it did not mean that there were irregularities in the supply of eggs to schools.
Major irregularities in the process were exposed by Times of India four years ago, where the procurement price paid by the government was much higher than the retail price of eggs in the market. The Christy group was blacklisted by the Karnataka government around the same time, banning them from supplying pulses to Karnataka.