Odisha Govt’s Aahar scheme fails to serve purpose?

Odisha govt had on December 31 last year included night meals in Aahar scheme with an aim to cater to needs of urban poor and ensure food security

Rayagada: Odisha Government recently launched the night meal facility at various Aahar centres, especially for the attendants of patients in hospitals across the State. However, the ‘Aahar Yojana’ seems to have lost its purpose in Rayagada district.

A case in point is the Aahar centre near G.C.D. High School in Rayagada where night meal (as per the scheme) is being provided at Rs 5 per between 7 pm and 9 pm every day. But, on January 10, several persons including some labourers and attendants of patients allegedly failed to get food.

They alleged that the Aahar outlet was closed much before the scheduled time and the concerned authorities at the centre didn’t respond to their repeated requests.

“I reached the Aahar centre at 8.05 pm for dinner but it was closed. Some people, who were waiting at the gate, said that the centre was closed much before. On asking the authorities, they said that they had already served 200 meals and so, closed the outlet,” alleged an attendant, Rabindra Ghadei.

A daily wage labourer, Pitabas said, “I repeatedly knocked at the gate of the Aahar centre but no one responded. Though the government provides us meals at Rs 5, what benefit do we get if the centres will be closed much earlier than the scheduled time?”

On being asked, the manager of the Aahar centre said, “Once our target of serving 200 meals is met, we close the centre.”

However, the Executive Officer of Rayagada Municipality Mangilal Jain has assured of an investigation and appropriate action.

“The timing of Aahar centres is from 7 pm to 9 pm. However, investigation will be initiated against the authorities of the centre if the allegations are found to be true,” said Jain, adding that the quantity of food served in the night meal scheme will be gradually increased.