Food for work rice left to rot in godown

Bhubaneswar: At a time when prices of essential commodities are spiralling, a whopping 300 quintals of foodgrain meant to be distributed under food for work scheme have been found rotting at Budaguda Gram Panchayat godown under Kalyansinghpur block in Rayagada since last ten years.

The Centre-funded scheme was launched to provide supplementary wage employment and food-security in backward districts. However, the beneficiaries have alleged that they have not received rice in lieu of work since last ten years.

“The rice was left to rot in the godown since 2002. Rice was not given to workers,” villager Kadalichuan Panchayat, Pidisika Gopinath said.

Allegations of misappropriation were leveled against the then Panchayat Secretary Rabindra Behera but the stock available in the godown now was not included in the ambit of investigation.

“The officials went to other godowns for inquiry and did not come for stock verification to panchayat godown. Over 300 quintals of rice which are completely destroyed have been shown in the books as shortfall,” Budaguda Panchayat Secretary Rabindra Chandra Behera said.

Meanwhile, the Block Development Officer (BDO) has sought inputs from Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) on whether the rice is fit for consumption or not.

“We have asked the Quality Inspector to certify whether the foodgrain is fit for intake or not. As per his report, we will act accordingly. If the report is unfavourable, we will clean the godown and dispose off the rotten rice,” Kalyansinghpur BDO Loknath Dalbehera said.

Though the scheme is no more in force now, rice was distributed to beneficiaries under this scheme in 2002-03.

It may be mentioned here that a large chunk of state`s population comes under Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and the state has been facing drought, crop loss due to untimely rain and other natural calamities for the last few years.