New Delhi: A parliamentary panel is understood to have slammed the Army for "deep-rooted and widespread malpractices" in its ration supply chain, observing that jawans were served food items that had, in some cases, passed their expiry dates by 28 months.

The Public Accounts Committee, in its report expected to be tabled in Parliament soon, is understood to have revealed "several glaring deficiencies and inadequacies" in the supply chain management of rations in the Army.

Decrying that 74 percent of fresh vegetables and fruits issued to units by supply depots were not in accordance with prescribed norms, the Committee said, "There are serious anomalies in receipt and supply of vegetables in one station alone."

"Deficiencies noticed in the test check are reflective of the deep-rooted and widespread malpractices in the supply chain management of the Indian Army," the PAC is understood to have observed in its report.

The PAC has observed "shortcomings" in procurement procedures of Army Service Corps, issue of rations to troops even after expiry of original Estimated Storage Life (ESL), highly non-competitive procurement of fresh rations and deviation from the laid down guidelines.

The Committee said it was startled to know "ESL of a number of dry rations was extended by an Army lab beyond its permissible limit".

"Still worse, these dry rations were consumed by the troops even six to 28 months after expiry of their normal ESL," it is believed to have said.

The Committee deplored the mismatch in issue and receipt of rations observing that this was "inconceivable without complicity of officers" concerned.

(Agencies)