Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 20:
Odisha government has forgotten all about its much hyped blanket distribution scheme this year though the temperature continues to touch new lows in the state with every passing day.
It may be noted that, with an eye the assembly elections, the government had announced a decision to give Rs 200 to each poor person to purchase blankets as ‘winter assistance’ in Nov 2012. A state-wide ‘Jana Seva Divas’ was celebrated on Dec 15 that year to mark the blanket distribution programme.
An extra payment of Rs 200 was made along with the regular pension amounts of the poor to 3690684 beneficiaries under different schemes: 1608400 beneficiaries under Madhu Babu Pension scheme, 1777083 under Indira Gandhi pension Scheme, 194379 under window pension scheme and 110822 under disability pension scheme.
The Chief Minister’s relief Fund had sanctioned Rs 73.81 crores to different districts to get this scheme implemented.
Surprisingly, even the centrally funded National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was made to participate in the promotion of this schemethough this scheme had nothing to do with rural health care. Both funds and manpower under NRHM were misused in this scheme till eyebrows were raised by many organizations and the department had to answer.
Coming back to 2014, the elections are over and the party is back in power again. The cold wave continues and meteorologists predict a further dip in temperature. Many parts of the state are already shivering in cold. But the government doesn’t feel the neeed to implement the ‘winter assistance’ scheme this year.