Keonjhar: Covid-19 assistance funds and rations were allegedly misappropriated in Saharapada block of Keonjhar district. According to reports, Rs 1000 as Covid assistance was allocated in the names of 14 people each who died of the virus in Udayapur panchayat last year.
Their aid has been embezzled. Rations lifted in their names have also been misappropriated. This was alleged by Udayapur sarpanch and locals. As a civil supplies officer had distributed the Covid funds, he should be brought under investigation, they demanded.
Reports said, the government had provided funds towards Covid assistance to 1365 beneficiaries in Udaypur panchayat last year. As per official records, 1360 beneficiaries were handed out assistance. In fact, 14 of the 1360 beneficiaries had died of Covid.
The Covid assistance money of the 14 deceased had been embezzled while their rations had been misappropriated for months together.
Following such allegations, Saharapada BDO Lamdodar Khuntia had carried out an investigation into the matter and claimed to have sent the report to Keonjhar sub-collector Ramchandra Kisku.
However, locals decried delay in action against those involved in the irregularities. They reminded the sub-collector about the delay. As for the probe report, the sub-collector said he had not received it.
When he learnt about it, the sub-collector himself went to the block office and brought the report. He submitted it to the Collector for action, said sub-collector. Various quarters have sought to know why there was an effort to suppress the investigation report for months together.
Sarpanch Satyanarayan Nayak said he was busy for his responsibilities at quarantine centres during the Covid times. Civil supplies officials had withdrawn Rs 13. 65 lakh from a local bank towards Covid assistance.
The sarpanch said ward members got to know of the irregularities and intimated him about it. He complained about the scam at the block administration. He added that a committee from the block has investigated the matter.
Locals have expressed unhappiness over the delay in taking action against those involved in the scam. On the other hand, the BDO said that the investigation report has been given to the sub-collector.