Opposition parties allege diversion of relief funds

Bhubaneswar: Accusing the BJD government in Odisha of misusing Chief Minister's Relief Fund (CMRF), Opposition Congress and BJP today alleged that money meant for people in distress was spent in popular scheme like distribution of bi-cycles among girl students in the state.

The issue was raised in the question hour by Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh of Congress when health minister Damodar Rout was replying a question on the treatment fund.

Alleging that about Rs 95 crore from CMRF has been spent on bi-cycle scheme, Singh said that the state government's action was against the guidelines of Chief Minister's Relief Code.

"How can the state government spend money on free bi-cycle scheme from CMRF when hundreds of people are in queue to get financial assistance for medical treatment," Singh said.

Disapproving diversion of money from CMRF in other purpose, BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo said as far as he knew the money should exclusively go to the people in distress. "There is no such provision of giving funds for bi-cycle scheme in CMRF guidelines," Singhdeo said.

Health Minister Rout, however, said that the money from CMRF was not misused as alleged by the opposition members.

Rout said that the maximum limit of assistance under the treatment fund has been increased from Rs 50,000 to Rs 3 lakh.