JAGATSINGHPUR: A special audit has brought to the fore yet another scam in the mid-day meal (MDM) scheme implementation in the district. About Rs 4.89 lakh has allegedly been embezzled from the funds generated from selling of empty gunny bags of food items supplied under MDM in schools of five blocks in the district.
The audit conducted by School and Mass Education department has revealed the embezzlement of funds from April 1, 2014 to October 31, 2017 in Balikuda, Biridi, Jagatsinghpur, Naugaon and Raghunathpur blocks.
Sources said after getting a whiff of a scam that empty gunny bags are being sold and the money being pocketed for personal use, the Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the department on April 23, 2014 had instructed that all the empty gunny bags be sold in a transparent manner at Rs 8 per bag and the money utilised towards purchase of hand wash, toilet disinfectants, dust bins and equipment for maintenance of drinking water supply system.
The order also directed the headmasters and Block Education Officers (BEOs) to maintain a separate cash book for accounts of such sales and mention it in the head of expenditure with due approval in school management committee meeting. But the audit found that financial records meant for the purpose have not been maintained in the prescribed manner in several schools of the five blocks where 30.591 quintal of MDM rice has been consumed from 2015-2016 to 2017-18. As many as 61,179 empty gunny bags have been sold at a cost Rs 4.89 lakh without accounts of details.
Later, District Education Officer (DEO) Prativa Manjari Das asked the BEOs of five blocks to recover the cost from headmasters concerned and deposit the same in MDM accounts on or before June 25. But the directive failed to yield any result as most of the headmasters have been retired or transferred to other schools.
The DEO said the department has called a meeting of all BEOs on August 20 over the issue and then next course of action will be initiated. Similarly, the district education office had asked the BEOs to recover Rs 60.93 lakh from several errant headmasters towards irregularities and unauthorised receipt of MDM rice by July 25 but to no avail.
- Rs 4.89L misappropriated
- 61,179 empty gunny bags sold
- Rs 8per bag30.591 quintal of MDM rice supplied