GUWAHATI: Expressing shock over alleged irregularities of over Rs 2,000 crore during the last 15 years, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today said his government will take strict actions to reform the social welfare department.
"Chairing an important review meeting of the department today, the Chief Minister vowed to punish those guilty of siphoning off humongous sums of fund meant for the nutrition of poor children of the state," an official release said.
Following a directive from Sonowal two months ago, the social welfare department had undertaken streamlining activities about the functioning of the department and as a result huge irregularities were identified, it said.
"In a startling revelation, the Chief Minister was apprised that nine lakh fake entries of 'ghost children' were detected, which has brought to light an exaggerated figure of Rs 150 crore per year for nine lakh non-existent children that have been drained out of the system.
"The total figure of 44 lakh children is reduced to 35 lakh after these detections. Similarly 390 fake Anganwadi centres have been identified, which were fraudulently entered for siphoning off the money.
"As a result of these detections, monthly expenditure required for Supplementary Nutrition Programme meant for mothers and children has been brought down drastically," the release said.
Sonowal asserted that the government would come down heavily on the perpetrators of these irregularities for taking people for a ride and for pocketing public fund meant for nutrition of mothers and children, predominantly from the underprivileged section.
"Noting that rampant corruption has completely stalled the service delivery of the department, the Chief Minister said highest prevalence rates of maternal mortality and infant mortality in the state are result of these irregularities," it added.