Binjharpur: Even as the coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented scare all over the world, back home it has caused severe misappropriation of subsidised rice for the poor under the PDS here in Jajpur district, a report said.
The government announced a lockdown all over the country and advised people to stay at home to help them escape from coronavirus.
It is alleged that the pandemic has brought out in the open the presence of many ghost beneficiaries in the block and misappropriation of Rs 1-kg rice issued in their names. Observers claimed that some unscrupulous supply officials in connivance with PDS dealers were lifting the rice stock in the name of ghost beneficiaries.
To ensure that no one goes hungry during lockdown, the state government provided three months’ provisions in advance and Rs 1,000 to each beneficiary of a ration card. Accordingly, the state government provided Rs 3.94 crore for 40,152 ration card holders under the block.
As per the plan, all ration card holders were given provisions for three months in advance and Rs 1,000. However, after distributing money among all beneficiaries the supply department was left with a surplus amount of Rs 10 lakh for which there were no takers.
The surplus amount of Rs 10 lakh has caught the supply department on the wrong foot. Observers claimed that the supply department failed to distribute the money due to non-existence of over 1000 ration card holders in the block. They said it indicates misappropriation of subsidized rice through such 1000 ghost cards for years together.
The absence of 11 ration card holders in Arei panchayat during distribution of rice and money is a case in this point. A total of Rs 8.86 lakh was sanctioned for 886 beneficiaries in Arei panchayat. However, during distribution of money, around 11 beneficiaries were found missing. The panchayat and supply officials had no clue about the beneficiaries for which they were left with Rs 11,000 after distribution.
Beneficiaries like Priyambada Samal (card no-13030110218), Pramila Dei (card no-13030110371), Hira Jena (card no-13030110604), Bani Mallik (card no-13030110678), Rambha Mallik(card no-13030110570), Labani Behuria(card no-13030111044) and Satyabhama Behuria(13030111066) were found either missing or dead.
When contacted, Binjharpur marketing inspector Subhangi Ray said the panchayat executive officer were distributing money among the beneficiaries for which she has no knowledge as to how much money they have been left with after distribution.