| Under fire: Pramila Mallick and Naveen Patnaik |
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 27: The BJP today demanded resignation of women and child development minister Pramila Mallick for the alleged dal supply scam in the mid-day meal scheme.
“Mallick, who heads the nodal department responsible for mid-day meal scheme, should not continue as there is a conflict of interests. Her brother Khirod Mallick had been nominated as a member of the state-level monitoring committee for mid-day meal scheme,” BJP leader and former minister Bijoy Mohapatra told reporters here today.
“Earlier, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had sacked the then women and child development minister Kamala Das and filed criminal case for the salt purchase scam,” he recalled.
Recently, the state vigilance department has unearthed the scam following raids on various schools in four districts of the state.
“Chief minister Naveen Patnaik cannot escape the responsibility for this scam either. He has been reviewing implementation of various schemes during his tenure. How many times he has reviewed the implementation of mid-day meal scheme?” asked the BJP leader.
Mohapatra alleged that the Naveen Patnaik government had failed to implement the directives of the Supreme Court and the high court.
“The apex court had delivered its interim judgment on October 7, 2007 acting upon a PIL filed by the Peoples’ Union of Civil Liberties. The trial of the case is still pending in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court should appoint a committee to probe into the serious irregularities involved in the dal purchase scam,” he said.
In another case pertaining to purchase of dal for mid-day meal scheme, Orissa High Court in May last year had asked the state government to constitute a three-member official committee to monitor the quality of dal, check price and prevent pilferage.
“The officials, who are members of the aforesaid committees are criminally liable for the supply of substandard and adulterated dal for the children,” he observed.
The district collectors, who had been empowered to ensure the quality and standard of food materials under the mid-day meal scheme, are also liable for the lapses, said Mohapatra.