Jagatsinghpur, July 8 (LocalWire): The district education officer (DEO) Prativa Manjari Das here has directed block education officers to take stern action against those found guilty of siphoning rice under Mid-Day Meal (MDM) in different schools across the district.
DEO Das has also directed headmasters of the schools where irregularities were found, to refund the amount at the rate of Rs 28.36 per kg rice that has been found missing in respective schools.
Overall the DEO has sought recovery of Rs 60.93 lakh from the schools that have been found guilty of irregularities and un-authorized receipt of rice under the MDM scheme.
According to a special audit conducted by the district administration, large-scale irregularities have been found in five out of the eight blocks in the district, including Naugaon, Raghunathpur, Jagatsinghpur, Biridi and in Balikuda.
Sources indicate that the schools were not only supplying sub-standard and less quantity rice they were also over-reporting the number of enrollments and attendance of students to embezzle rice under the MDM scheme.
The 2015-2017 stock audit of MDM rice at different schools in the five blocks has also revealed that the schools had procured rice on a credit basis from other sources and reimbursed the same after receiving stocks from the authorities.
However, during the audit, the schools were unable to show documentary evidence of procurement on credit and refund thereafter, raising doubts of large-scale misappropriation of fund and stock.
The special audit team has recommended the district administration to recover the cost of such amount of rice at Rs 28.36 per kg amounting to Rs 60.93 lakh from the erring schools and deposit it in the district MDM account on or before 25 July 2019.
The audit also listed the major defaulters: 1,254 quintal MDM rice had been siphoned at PK Government UP School, 1,185 quintal rice by Shree Jagnnath High School in Garei, 995 quintals in Korua Primary schools, 1,687 quintal rice by Kantunia Nodal High School, and 688 quintal rice by Gopandhu Smruti Government High School in Naugaon block.
It may be recalled that the headmistress of Tirtol Primary School Alok Rashmi Mohanty and the headmistress of Arada Primary School Ritarani Rout were suspended for the supply of fake information regarding MDM recently.
Earlier, the headmistress of Brundaban Chandra Nodal Vidyalaya of Raghunathpur block, A Ruxuna Sadamul, and several teachers were also suspended on charges of manipulating enrollment numbers of students under the MDM scheme, while salaries of over a dozen teachers were stopped for the supply of fake information.
Locals allege that efforts made by the government to introduce the mobile app and SMS-based application for proper distribution of mid-day meals in primary schools have failed miserably due to lack of supervision and negligence of officials of school and mass education department.