Bhubaneswar, Oct. 21: The state government today shunted the commissioner of the Cuttack Municipal Corporation and suspended a senior officer while ordering a vigilance probe into the alleged bungling of relief materials by BJD councillors.
The BJD also expelled its Cuttack unit president Madhusudan Sahu, a councillor, for allegedly encouraging party workers to take cyclone relief materials from the corporation office between October 13 and 14.
Embarrassed by the incident, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today ordered a vigilance probe. The urban development department immediately transferred civic body chief Nihar Ranjan Mohapatra and announced suspension of the corporation’s deputy commissioner-cum-relief officer J.N. Kujur.
Before Phailin hit the state on October 12, the state government had asked the corporation and the district administration to evacuate people living in the low-lying areas. Nearly 24,830 people were evacuated and shifted to 73 shelters. The district administration provided 191.80 quintals of rice, 100 lanterns and over a thousand candle packets to the corporation for distribution among the cyclone victims. From its own budget, the corporation had arranged four quintals of potatoes, 1,800 litres of edible oil, 48,632 biscuit packets and 79 packets of dal (50kg per pack).
It was alleged that some councillors had prevailed upon the municipal officials to provide them with relief materials, so that they could directly distribute the items to the victims. While people put up at the official shelters claimed to have received nothing, relief materials allegedly disappeared from the corporation office.
Following such allegations, revenue divisional commissioner (central) Arvind Padhee asked Cuttack district collector Girish S.N. to submit a report. The civic body, too, was asked to submit a detailed report regarding utilisation of the materials.
The civic body had issued notices to several councillors to submit lists of beneficiaries. When they did not respond, they were asked to return the relief materials. While some councillors are said to have deposited cash in lieu of the relief materials taken by them, most of the elected representatives have failed to comply with the order, said official sources.