Dimapur, February 19: The Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) has termed as unfortunate that the Principal Director of School Education, Shanavas C has come out in defense of the carriage contractor of Mid-Day Meal scheme food grains.
“The Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) is amused that Principal Director School Education Shanavas C for his effort to defend the Contractor Mr RN Sharma misdeeds which is indefensible, however it was well tried,” it said in a press release.
Reacting to the clarification issued by the PD, School Education on the forum’s allegation of irregularities in MDM scheme implementation in the State, and his demand for evidence of nexus between Government officials and politicians in the mid-day meal scam, the NPRAAF said it is ready to make even more sensitive disclosure “as confessed by the contractor” in the court of law and as desired by Shanavas C as to how much rupees per quintal is paid to various organisation in more detail when the matter comes before the law.
It, however, lamented that “when the share are being taken away even from the poor children mouth amidst every civil societies, student’s body and public cry over it for long, instead of trying to find out the truth behind the corrupted activities and initiate legal action against the culprit, Mr Shanavas C is trying to shield the corrupt contractor and charging NPRAAF to come with evidence showing where the contractor paid money to various organisation and politicians and officers, which the contractor himself has admitted.”
On the department clarification that the annual sanction of food grains is 4076.590 metric ton (MT) which is more than figure given by NPRAAF of 4000 metric ton (MT), the forum asked if that is so why the department is failing to regularly implement the MDM scheme in schools.
If the unspent balance of food grain are subsequently adjusted during the next allocation as normal practice, the release asked why year after year adjustment over adjustment is made, hoodwinking the Center. “Is it that the department shows inflated number of students to Delhi to receive even more food grain to make further adjustment the next year? Whereas the poor school children do not receive their daily mid-day meal on every school days… He should not fool the public, Nagas are not fools to buy such unjustifiable argument, lies will only breed more lies,” it stated.
On the total number of 1,57,510 beneficiaries (1,19,144 in primary and 38,366 in upper primary), the NPRAAF claimed that a letter written to the Secretaries/Principal Secretaries/Secretaries to Education/Nodal Department of State Government/UT Administration dealing with Mid-day Meal scheme, Dated 29th April 2016, by Govt. of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development Department of School Education & Literacy (MDM Division) Shastri Bhawan under the signature of Gaya Prasad was handed over by the carriage contractor (RN Sharma) to NPRAAF officials, where on the overleaf page, the letter for allocation of food grain state wise was imprinted , which showed that in 2015-16 there was total of 197,296 students – number of students for primary stage was 1,59, 753 and rice allocation was 830.72 MT and 1006.44 and students for upper primary stage was 37,523 and rice allocation was 354.59 & 292.68 and for NCLP number of children was 980 and rice allocation was 11.61 MT & 11.03 totaling up to 2,507.07 MT. The respective allocation was just made for the 1st and 2nd quarter alone.
The forum also claimed that the contractor informed NPRAAF that the “exact enrollment of student was 1,06,298 as against the figure shown in the official documents submitted to Delhi.”
“Therefore it was necessary to enlighten the fact and figure to the public as NPRAAF is not doing business out of it. However, NPRAAF clearly mentioned that the figure is subjected to change,” it said.
On Shanavas C finding error in the forum’s earlier press release regarding implementation of MDM from Class I to VII and not Class I to VIII, the NPRAAF clarified that the error was only a typing mistake for the inadvertent error. “However, it was flimsy to pick even that minor mistake to justify irregularities of Mid-day Meal scheme implementation where primarily NPRAAF expressed dissatisfaction towards one particular carriage contractor for the illegal act.”
“The principal Director was expected at-least to understand that it was merely a typing mistake because the full text of Rule No 3. as published was fully correct and should have considered as ‘overlooked’ unless he was trying to play with words rather than dwell on the real issue to confuse the people unless he himself is involved in the scam,” it alleged.
Stating that the midday meal scam is an open secret, the forum opined that “Shanavas C taking upon himself the scam of Mid-Day Meal scheme on behalf of the contractor is absolutely unbecoming of a civil servant whom the public has high hope, when corruption has become like a cancer today and is destroying the fabric of our society and the only hope remain is in young bureaucrats like him. Here is not to score point but here is to find remedy.”
The most important issue, the NPRAAF said, is why the carriage contractor whose responsibility is only to lift the food grains from the FCI depot and transport the quantity to various destinations and receive the transport bill for carriage contract “is doing business with the food grains meant for the poor children.”
The NPRAAF requested Shanavas C to stay wise and not get polluted with corruption issues at an early stage of his career as the nation has great hope on young leader like him. (Page News Service)