Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Dec 30:
With the surfacing of ration cards issued in the name of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) mayor, corporators and former corporators and the state government becoming the whipping boy of the opposition Congress and BJP, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today suspended the then additional commissioner of CMC Biswanath Sahu on charges of dereliction of duty in connection with verification of cards to beneficiaries under the NFSA in the CMC area.
“The then additional commissioner of CMC Biswanath Sahu has been suspended by the government on the basis of the inquiry report. He has not performed his duties properly during distribution of these cards,” informed Sanjay Das Burma Minister Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare.
Sahu was in-charge of verification of ration cards under the NFSA in the CMC area during his tenure as the additional commissioner of CMC. Action was taken against him on the basis of report submitted by the Cuttack collector, said an official release from the Chief Minister’s office here today.
Sahu is currestly posted as project director DRDA, Sonepur, the release added.
Earlier in the day, the CMC commissioner informed of having written a letter to the district collector to cancel ration cards (NFSA cards) issued to seven incumbent corporators and two former corporators of the CMC.
“Cards issued to elected representatives or rich people who come under the exclusion criteria and those which have been surrendered by people are being cancelled. Yesterday I had sent 45 such cards to the collector for cancellation. I have separately written to the collector for cancellation of nine cards issued to seven incumbent corporators and two former corporators. Squads have instructed to look into wherever there have been similar complaints of well-off people been included in the list. The Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department has guidelines for penalizing those who have figured their names despite being in the exclusion criteria,” informed Gyana Ranjan Das commissioner CMC.
Further, two state government employees – a high school teacher Saroj Kumar Pratap and CMC employee Arghya Pratap Mohanty were suspended yesterday in connection with the surfacing of the name of CMC mayor Anita Behera in the list of beneficiaries to get ration cards under the NFSA. The duo had allegedly entered Anita Behera’s name in the list.
The rot of ration cards issued to people coming under the exclusion criteria is not limited to Cuttack city alone, names of several well off persons have figured in the list at different places.
The latest being the name of vice-chairperson of Kendrapara municipality Jayanti Lenka in the ration card list. The Congress has protested inclusion of Jayanti’s name in the list and demanded her resignation.
Further, name of Bhadrak Panchayat Samiti chairperson Chandrakanti Mallick’s name has also surfaced in the list. General public have protested against inclusion of her name in the list.
On the other hand, politics has heated up over the issue while Union Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has squarely held the ruling BJD for the goof ups, PCC president Prasad Harichandan has demanded action against the guilty.
“This is purely a subject of the state government, a subject of the Food Supplies department of the state government. The state government cannot shy away from the responsibility of being guilty of such goof ups. The ruling party has only included its supporters as beneficiaries in the rural areas while the deserving have been left out. The state government cannot shirk off its responsibility,” said Pradhan in his reaction on the issue.
“There are rules for taking action any one whoever has committed irregularities or has violated the rules. Stringent action should be taken against those found guilty, whoever he may be,” said Harichandan commenting on the issue.
“I do not know who has said what. Food security is an Act and it has provisions for deliveries in the most transparent manner. People who do not have the slightest of idea how NFSA has been implemented in the state, make such comments,” said Sanjay Das Burma, Minister Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare in his reactions on the opposition’s comments.