CUTTACK: Cuttack Mayor Anita Behera is in the centre of a storm over her and her family’s inclusion in National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiary list even as the Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) authorities have given a clean chit to her.
While the Congress latched on to the issue demanding her resignation, Behera came out with a clarification that she was unaware of the inclusion of her name in the list.
“It might have been registered by some family member inadvertently during the identification drive. But it is indeed a mistake and will be rectified immediately. I have not received the ration cards and have directed all our names to be removed from the list,” she said.
The CMC officials appeared to rally behind the ruling party stating that the mistake had been committed at the field level. The officials, who were assigned the duty of house-to-house verification, did not observe due diligence and left the names on the list, CMC Commissioner Gyana Das said.
“Mayor herself detected the mistake earlier this month and has already sought withdrawal of the digitised ration card issued in her name. The cards have not been distributed and will be cancelled. The matter was verified again on Monday and a report submitted to the Collector,” he said.
However, the Congress has refused to buy the explanation saying its allegations on irregularities were refuted by the ruling party which asserted that the identification and registration of beneficiaries went through rigorous scrutiny.
“If that is so, how did names of the Mayor and her family members, who belong to the well-to-do section, creep into the list? While giving credence to our complaints, the issue has also exposed a nexus between the ruling party and the officials for manipulation of the beneficiary list at the cost of thousands of deserving poor,” Congress Corporator Giribala Behera said.
The issue of Behera and her family members including her husband Narendra Behera, daughters Susmita and Rashmita Behera figuring in the ration card list rocked the CMC Corporation meeting with the Congress and opposition Corporators gunning for the Mayor’s head. The party has announced to step up agitation demanding Behera’s resignation.
“Behera has no moral authority to stay in office. If she doesn’t step down, we will file an FIR against her for committing fraud,” Giribala said.