How Much CM Relief Fund Is Used For Aahar Scheme?

A difference of around Rs 21 crore in expenditure data submitted by different departments of the Odisha government has courted a controversy with the Opposition demanding an audit of the CM's Relief Fund

Bhubaneswar: Already under attack from opposition for mining and chit fund scams, the Naveen Patnaik government is now facing a new controversy after the data submitted by two State government departments exposed massive differences in the fund released for the Odisha government’s much-advertised ‘Aahar’ scheme.

The Aahar scheme was launched by the Naveen government to provide subsidised meal to urban poor at Rs 5 per meal. Though at many occasions it was alleged that the scheme failed to serve its purpose, the huge gap in funding data submitted by the Urban Development and General Administration departments have courted a controversy.

As per reports, a huge sum of money is being released from Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for the Aahar scheme. If reports are to be believed, so far, the expenditure in the Aahar scheme since the day of its launch has been over Rs 167.99 crore. Out of it, over Rs 128.76 crore has been released from the CM’s Relief Fund while Rs 13.52 crore has come from different corporate organisations.

However, the documents obtained through an RTI plea reflects a lot of differences among the data submitted by the departments. The data of the General Administration Department says that around Rs 68 crore has been released from the CM’s Relief Fund for Aahar scheme in the last five years.

Surprisingly, the Urban Development Department has submitted two different sets of data in a span of two months- the first one says Rs 177.46 crore while the second data says Rs 156 crore has been released from the CM’s Relief Fund towards the scheme.

While the Opposition trained guns at the Odisha government, the Urban Development Minister Pratap Jena denied commenting on the issue.

“The actual beneficiaries are getting neglected as money is being released from the CM’s relief fund without any budget provision,” said State BJP vice president Samir Mohanty, expressing concerns over the differences in data submitted by different departments on the matter.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader Panchanan Kanungo demanded an audit of fund. “An overall audit of the CM’s relief fund is needed as donations are coming to the said fund from several sources and different companies,” he said.