Ration card row fallout: Naveen suspends ex Addl Commissioner of CMC

Bhubaneswar: Taking a serious view of the ration card fiasco in Cuttack, chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday suspended the then additional commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) Biswanath Sahu.

Officials said, Patnaik placed Sahu under suspension for dereliction of duties. Currently Sahu is posted as project director, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA), Sonepur.

Announcing this, Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma said, “From inquiry, it is found that Sahu has failed in discharging responsibilities. He is placed under suspension for dereliction of duty.”

The ration card row, which has provided enough fodder to the Opposition BJP and Congress to corner the ruling BJD, witnessed the resignation of CMC mayor Anita Behera yesterday following much hue and cry. Behera, whose name was found in the beneficiary list compiled under National Food Security Act (NFSA), tendered her resignation both as mayor and corporator yesterday.

To add more embarrassment to the BJD, names of seven elected members of the CMC, four of them from the ruling party, were found in the NFSA beneficiary list on Wednesday. Acting promptly on this, CMC commissioner Gyana Ranjan Das wrote to the district Collector requesting him to cancel the ration cards of these corporators and two former corporators on the ground that they were ineligible to figure in the list.

On Tuesday, acting tough on the ration card imbroglio, Das had suspended CMC community officer Arghya Pratap Mohanty and Municipality High School teacher Saroj Pratap for the inclusion of the names of mayor Anita Behera and her family in the list.

Enquiries reveal that ration cards have been issued against four corporators of Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BMC). Besides, Kendrapara NAC vice-chairman Jayanti Lenka and Bhadrakh Panchayat Samiti Chairman Chandrakanti Mallick also hold ration cards in their names.

Opposition BJP and Congress have vehemently criticised the irregularities in implementing the National Food Security Act.

“The Odisha government and especially the Supply department is completely responsible for this. It can’t escape responsibility for the lapse. In rural areas, the ruling party has enrolled the names of its followers in the list,” Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said.

“Stern action must be taken against all the erring officials involved in the irregularities,” OPCC president Prasad Harichandan stated.

Countering the allegations of the Opposition parties, Dasburma said, “We have tried our best to make the list transparen