Opp smells scam as 4 lakh dropped from Antyodaya scheme

Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties on Monday were up in arms demanding a CBI inquiry into the existence of around four lakh ghost beneficiaries under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana.

In a letter written to the district collectors, a copy of which is available with the OTV, Civil Supplies Secretary Madhusudan Padhi has said the Centre has targeted to provide rice under the scheme to 12,64,500 families in Odisha. However, the State government informed the Centre that 12,54,050 families were eligible to be listed as beneficiaries and were getting the rice under the scheme.

But after the implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in November 2015, the number of beneficiaries had come down to 7.85 lakh families before rising to 8.46 lakh after three months.

The letter also asked the Collectors to look into the causes for the fall in the number of beneficiaries.

The question that is thrown up by the revelation is: where have the around four lakh beneficiaries who used to get rice under the Centrally sponsored scheme vanished? If they were dropped inadvertently, will the government consider including them again under the scheme in future?

Prthviraj Harichandan, BJP leader, said, “This shows that the rice which was being allotted to the districts till now was either taken by ghosts or ended up in the black market. It seems to be a big scam and we demand the government should undertake a judicial inquiry.”

Expressing his anguish, Sarat Rout, Congress leader stated, “The whole thing smells of corruption on a large scale. As they have not found out how the rice was being allotted and to whom, the Congress party demands a CBI inquiry.”

Meanwhile, Sanjay Das Burma, Food and Supplies Minister, said, “At present, as per the NFSA, the families have to apply afresh to become beneficiaries at the district level. As the quota for the State is available, we request them to apply again so that the government can take up their relisting.”

The minister further said, “The excluded families should give a photocopy of the card they have to the Collector’s office so that it will be easier for the officers to take steps.”