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Orissa: A scam that endangers pregnant women, children

By Anita
Google Oneindia News
Orissa woman
Cuttack, Jul 20: Yet another scam has surfaced this time from Orissa, on a multi-crore pulses (dal) scam spanning five districts. The State Vigilance Directorate, the anti-corruption wing of police department made the expose when it submitted a status report to the Orissa High Court and stated that monetary gains to the tune of Rs 19.62 crore were made individually by certain government officials.

The tainted officials are believed to have provided undue favour to certain private suppliers and traders in districts of Ganjam, Mayurbhanj, Deogarh, Balasore and Jajpur. As a result of this scam, low quality pulses were provided in the various feeding schemes implemented in 2009-'10 and 2010-'11, the report says.

At the receiving end of the scam were school students, children, pregnant and nursing mothers who have been part of the midday meal (MDM), supplementary nutrition programme (SNP) and emergency food programme (EFP) and were left to feed themselves with "mould-grown and substandard pulses", revealed the report.

The report said, "In most of the samples, the analytical reports said the pulses did not confirm to the prescribed standard and were highly infected and of poor quality due to presence of insects in it." Taking cognizance of the disturbing report that could be fatal to high risk groups like children and pregnant women, 34 accused persons was arrested, with the report stating, "All the arrested persons were, however, released on bail as per orders of the High Court."

The scam was first brought out by Bari MLA Debashish Naik last year. Pramila Mallick, the then Women and Child Development minister had also resigned from her post with the government taking stern action on the district collectors of Deogarh, Mayurbhanj and Balasore.

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