When fence eats crops

When fence eats crops
Highlights

In what could be described as the fence eating the crops, a number of officials are pocketing the benefits that rightfully belong to the children and lactating mothers at Anganwadis throughout the State. According to sources, the anganwadi centres in the mandal have been receiving only 50 per cent of nutritious food that was allotted to them, while the online entries indicate 100 per cent supply o

Luxettipet: In what could be described as the fence eating the crops, a number of officials are pocketing the benefits that rightfully belong to the children and lactating mothers at Anganwadis throughout the State. According to sources, the anganwadi centres in the mandal have been receiving only 50 per cent of nutritious food that was allotted to them, while the online entries indicate 100 per cent supply of food.

The rest of the quantity is allegedly going into open market to fill the pockets of corrupt officials of the local Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) Office. There are 178 Anganwadi centres and 25 sub-centers with a strength of 8,133 children and 1,008 pregnant women and 923 lactating mothers in Dandepalli, Luxettipet and Jannaram mandals.

A food contractor supplies food to these centres and the ICDS food in-charge supplies the food to ICDS project office here through Civil Supplies Department. The food includes dal, rice, Balamrutam, oil, eggs, milk, refreshments. The details of food supplied by the contractor to the Anganwadi centers in the first week are available with the ICDS godown in-charge. The Anganwadi centres receive food supply depending on the strength of children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The godown in-charge and typist (route officer) were accused of engineering the scam. Though the Anganwadi activists are well aware of it, they keep mum to play it safe. When The Hans India visited an Anganwadi Centre, the nitty-gritty of the murky affair came to light.

When the State and Central governments supply food worth Rs 100 crore to the ICDS project office, the food contractor, in cohorts with the staff, is supplying food to Anganwadi Kendras according to their whims and fancies. But, the shortage of food is pinching the Anganwadi teaches and ayahs.

If they question the godown in-charge or the typist about the shortage, normally they will be told to ‘go and complain to anyone’. Both the in-charge and the typist never care even to Anganwadi supervisors. The typist has been functioning as the godown in-charge since 2014.

Under the Luxettipet project limits, it’s reported that only 50 per cent of the food supply is distributed and several lakhs of rupees are being usurped by officials, who doctor the online records to the effect of supplying 100 per cent.

Unable to bear the injustice being done to children and lactating mothers for almost one year, the Anganwadi teachers have complained to the Child Development Project Officer CDPO. For this, the anganwadi teachers were reportedly threatened.

The corruption didn’t end there. The typist reportedly collects Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 from each beneficiary to give the bonds, the financial benefit scheme for two girl children introduced by the then Congress government. The beneficiaries complained to local MLA Diwakar Rao, who chided the typist, but of no change. Several complaints over the irregular food supply went unaddressed.

Sankaramma of Mulkalguda Anganwadi Kendra laments over the official inaction to set things straight. A recently posted supervisor, Jayaprada, said that there are only two supervisors against the required eight, as they are afraid to work here. She expressed her inability to verify the food stocks in the absence of sector report. “They are not giving the sector report on one pretext or other,” she stated.

It is high-time the higher authorities swung into action and conduct a full probe into the irregularities in the supply of nutritious food to poor children and lactating women.

By: Paruvella Satyanarayana

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