EDITORIAL | Alleged rice scam in Meghalaya: Another "legacy" problem or sheer apathy?
The recent alleged rice scam in Meghalaya has rocked the state as social activists expressed surprise over the supposed “modus-operandi” of hijacking the rights belonging to pregnant women and children.
The rice that was lifted from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in Meghalaya was supposed to be sent for fortification, which would later be distributed to the pregnant women and children under the Nutrition Programme through the Anganwadi centres.
However, it was alleged that the fortified food items that were sent back were of sub-standard quality, though the government had, on many occasions, asserted that the quality of the food items is being tested and assessed regularly.
The involvement of an approved manufacturer, Continental Milkose India Ltd (CML), which, according to officials of the Social Welfare Department, has been working on contracts with the department for over 20 years, has also raised many eyebrows.
It was brought to light that CML is a company that has been under the scanner since 2011, following a revelation through a report released by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) of supplying questionable food items.
The question now arises: If Self Help Groups (SHGs), village committees and Mahila Mandals are permitted as per law to prepare and manufacture the food, why then is the government insisting on involving an under-scanner manufacturer?
The social welfare department has attracted the ire of many as people question the seriousness of the government in ensuring that the beneficiaries’ rights are not being taken for granted.
RTI activist Angela Rangad had recently stated that the government can’t keep terming such issues as “legacy” problems because it is the duty of the government of the day to right the wrong and change whereever necessary.
One can only hope that a probe into the alleged scam can identify and rectify the problem and nip the problem in the bud.
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