A delegation of BJP MPs from Odisha on Thursday urged the Centre to institute an inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in the state.
The BJP MPs, including Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Ashwini Vaishnaw, submitted a memorandum to the Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Piyush Goyal in New Delhi, urging him for issuing directions to the state government for taking necessary actions to rectify the anomalies in the implementation of the PMGKAY.
The MPs alleged that the huge discrepancies between the allocation made by the Centre and the distribution of food grains in the state under PMGKAY and NFSA reveal presence of ghost beneficiaries in the list of NFSA (National Food Security Act) ration cardholders, prepared by the Odisha government.
They pointed out that under the PMGKAY scheme, out of 92.83 lakh NFSA cardholders in Odisha, free food grains were distributed to 87.39 lakh beneficiaries in May and 88.23 lakh in June.
Similarly, under the NFSA scheme, food grains were distributed to 88.76 lakh beneficiaries in May and 88.72 lakh in June.
The discrepancies in these figures not only point at irregularities at the state level but also the creation of ghost beneficiaries, the MPs said, adding that there have been media reports of the ration being smuggled into the open market at the cost of the poor and needy people who are left starving.
Besides, the state government has resorted to misbranding the scheme in violation of the Centre's guidelines, they alleged.
For widespread information and awareness about the distribution of free ration items and other benefits under PMGKAY, the states were advised to place banners and posters at fair-price shops, godowns, and government offices in the local language.
In blatant violation of these guidelines, the Government of Odisha has resorted to misbranding the scheme by promoting images of Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha instead of details of free ration items and available benefits, they said in the memorandum.
The BJP MPs met Goyal barely two days after a delegation of BJD MPs had met the Union minister demanding the immediate release of subsidy for paddy procurement in the state.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJD termed the sunmission of the memorandum by BJP MPs to the Union Minister as a mark of ignorance.
The allegations levelled by the BJP MPs are laughable, said BJD MP and party's national spokesperson Sasmit Patra.
The Union Ministry has already placed Odisha in a much better position than BJP- ruled states in the sphere of food distribution among the beneficiaries, Patra claimed.