Scam in toys for children? ‘Irregularities’ surface in pre-school kit procurement in Odisha

Koraput: With the motto to provide children a playful learning atmosphere, the idea of ‘Pre-School Education Kit’ in Anganwadi centres was implemented across India. But it seems to have failed in Odisha’s Koraput district where allegations of gross irregularities in procurement of such education kits have surfaced.

Under this programme, government sanctions money for each Mini-Anganwadi (Rs 2500 P/A) and Anganwadi centre (Rs 5000 P/A) to buy toys for children. However, many Anganwadi centres in Koraput are allegedly not purchasing the toys, but submitting fake bills.

A bill submitted by one of the Anganwadi centres mentioned about a store from where toys were being purchased. However, the owner of the shop denied any such purchases from his store.

Following allegations, a concerned Anganwadi employee, Sangeeta Patnaik said, “We get Rs 2500 every year for toys. The money gets credited to our account directly. Someone bought the toys for us, but I have no idea from which store he purchased.”

The store owner said, “I have no idea related to the submission of fake bills. I don’t know if they are misusing my bills.”

When contacted, Child Development Project Officers (CDPO) in the district refuted the allegations. Baipariguda CDPO, Suruma Mohapatra said that the Anganwadi centres have been made aware of the guidelines to make the purchases.

“I have sent money and directed the supervisor to make the purchases accordingly,” said Suruma adding that she has no role in any type of irregularities.

District Social Welfare Officer, Harekrushna Pradhan said that a probe will be ordered to find out the truth behind the allegations. “We will ensure good quality things (toys) are purchased,” he added.