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Petition for CBI probe into dal scam

Cuttack, March 7: Another PIL seeking a CBI probe into the substandard arhad dal to the anganwadi centres under the Special Nutrition Programme (SNP) has been filed in Orissa High Court.

Baidyanath Chandra Pradhan (31), a councillor of Khandapada Notified Area Council (NAC) in Nayagarh district, has filed the PIL alleging supply of low grade dal in Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur, Cuttack, Deogarh, Ganjam and Sambalpur districts due to involvement of contractors.

“Collectors in these eight districts had selected cooperative bodies for supply of dal. However, these cooperatives had allotted their supply orders to a few contractors. The contractors are supplying low-grade dal for the SNP, which is not suitable for human consumption,” stated the petition.

The collectors had allowed contractors to supply dal despite clear orders against it by the Supreme Court, the petitioner said. The low-grade dal is being served to children aged from six months to six years, pregnant women and lactating mothers as the collectors have not adopted any quality control measure, the petitioner further said, while alleging that “the dal scam has thrived on many fake, fictitious and non-existent persons”. At present, the SNP is covering 34, 492 anganwadi centres in the state.

The PIL is expected to be taken up for hearing tomorrow along with the PIL under adjudication. Earlier, Dillip Kumar Mohapatra, a High Court Bar member, had filed a PIL on the alleged dal scam. The court had issued notices to the state government after admitting it on February 11.

Mohapatra’s counsel pointed out that the state government had not filed any counter affidavit and pressed for seizure of all adulterated, infested and rotten dal. It had not ensured supply of good dal in all the 30 districts. Substandard dal was still being supplied in several districts and raised questions as to why the state government had not filed a counter affidavit in the case so far, it said.

Taking note of it, the court had directed the state government to submit within two days a full-proof plan to ensure supply of “good dal” for the mid-day meals in primary schools and anganwadis in the state.

“The advocate general is granted two days to come up with concrete proposal by filing an affidavit either by the principal secretary to the government or in his absence the additional secretary to the government stating therein as to how the good dal will be supplied to anganwadi centres in the state for supply of the mid-day meal to the school children,” the two-judge bench of Chief Justice V. Gopala Gowda and Justice B.N. Mohapatra said in the interim order.

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