Odisha State Food Commission irked over ‘Ghost’ beneficiaries

Bhubaneswar: Strange but true. Over 2 lakh ‘ghost’ beneficiaries are drawing monthly ration under the National Food Security Act in Odisha.

Taking stern note of the irregularities, the Odisha State Food Commission has pulled up Collectors for slow progress in deleting the names of deceased beneficiaries from various food security schemes.

The collectors have been directed to take concrete steps for the deletion of dead beneficiaries at the earliest.

Ranglal Jamuda, Chairperson, Odisha State Food Commission said “As the names of deceased have not yet been removed from list, ration is being issued to such ghost beneficiaries. In the recent review report, we have directed the Collectors to delete the names of nearly 2 lakh dead beneficiaries from the list.”

According to sources, the names of deceased beneficiaries are not being deleted from the list of beneficiaries of National Food Security scheme. The list of dead beneficiaries is allegedly not being updated in the districts of Ganjam, Kandhamal, Khurda, Nayagarh and Cuttack.

Surprisingly, not a single dead beneficiary has been identified in Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Malkangiri and Rayagada districts, as per the data provided in the recently concluded quarterly review report.

The report further states that only one beneficiary has been identified as dead in Rayagada while 1,923 beneficiaries have been removed from the list.

Srikar Majhi, Bargarh CSO, on the other hand cited the implementation of Odisha’s own State Food Security Scheme as the reason behind non-deletion of names of dead beneficiaries.

On the other hand, Food Supplies Minister Surya Narayan Patro has denied allegations of irregularities in distribution of rice and wheat.

“No ration is being issued in the name of dead beneficiary. Arrangements are being made for distribution of extra rice at the panchayat level. The rice quota is being supplied in accordance with the number of beneficiaries as per our records,” said Patro.