Irregularities in the supply of MDM rice

The contracting agency is still working even after 5 years of the end of the tender period

Kalahandi (Sumit Kumar Agarwal): Widespread irregularities have come to the fore in the supply of mid-day meal (MDM) rice in Narla block of Kalahandi district. Ma Tarini Suppliers, Cuttack was taken on contract to transport MDM rice to schools. The agency’s contract period has long expired. Tender notice was issued for the appointment of a new contractor in July 2017 after the tenure ended. But due to some reason not many bidders applied at that time. Since then the contract has been renewed without any tender with the old agency Ma Tarini Suppliers, Cuttack. The agreement between the District Tender Committee, DEO-DPMU (MDM) and the contractor under the chairmanship of the Collector-cum-DM, Kalahandi clearly states that the vehicle cannot be stopped on the way after lifting the rice from the DSC godown under any circumstances, it will go straight to school. Rice will be given to the school according to the weight in the presence of the school management committee and the headmaster. The acknowledgment letter of the headmaster of the concerned school will be handed over to the Block Education Officer. Certified contractors cannot hire sub-contractors for this work. But in Narla block, a person named Manish Sharma of Rupra Road is seen distributing rice as a sub-contractor. If the contractor is in breach of contract, the District Education Officer and Nodal Officer (MDM) can register a case under IPC/ECA/NFSA 2013/MDM Act 2016 and other relevant laws. Schools are being given 20 to 30 kg less rice per quintal. After the rice is picked up, it is kept in the godown on the way. A conducive environment is being created for looting rice in violation of the agreement. No one has the answer as to why the tender was not done for 5 years. Many school headmasters, teachers’ unions and parents have repeatedly complained about this. But no one has taken the allegations seriously. Since the Collector-cum-DM is the district head of the scheme, there is a demand to hand over the matter to the Vigilance.

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Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

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