Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Anandpur, Apr 23:
Odisha’s Biju Janata Dal (BJD) which catapulted to power on populist planks has failed to plug the loopholes in the welfare schemes, if the sale of Rs 1 a kg rice meant for below poverty line (BPL) families to beneficiaries for Rs 2.50 a kg at a remote village in Keonjhar district is anything to go by.
Taking a cue from the electoral success of the BJD, aspirants for the bye-election for the sarpanch post, which is round the corner, have been trying the tested formula. The naive villagers are allegedly being sold BPL rice at Rs 2.50 a kg instead of Re 1 a kg.
Moreover, they are not getting their quota of 25 kg a month. PDS dealers are allegedly giving a sack of rice to two families to distribute among themselves without weighing the quantity.
The tribal dominated inaccessible Mallipashi village in K Balipal panchayat under Hatadihi block of the district is cut-off from other parts of the district after construction of the Hadagad dam.
Without raising any protest, the residents of the unapproachable village latch on to the deal as it is a precious commodity which reaches them rarely. They get 20-22 kg per family a month as against the mandated 25 kg.
The village, which is 130 km from Hatadihi block office and 150 km from the panchayat office, is cut off from other parts of the district through land. The villagers reach these offices via Mayurbhanj district to avail the welfare schemes.
The villagers had brought this issue to the notice of district collector and SP on November 28 last year when they had gone to the village to participate in a grievance redressal camp. Though the collector had assured the villagers to take necessary steps, no steps were taken till recently.
Contacted, Keonjhar sub collector Dr Mahewar Swain expressed astonishment over reports of sale of BPL rice to villagers in a tribal hamlet.
“We would investigate the matter and initiate necessary steps to plug the plunder,” Dr Maheswar Swain said.