JEYPORE: Koraput district administration on Friday inspected ‘chhatua’ (a mixture of ground pulses and cereal) production units of self-help groups (SHGs) engaged for supplying food items to anganwadi centres under Supplementary Nutrition Programme for Children and Pregnant Women.
Acting on allegations of supply of poor quality ‘chhatua’ to anganwadi centres by the SHGs, the district administration formed several teams comprising officials of Revenue and ICDS and raided 26 units simultaneously. They also verified the quality of ingredients being used for preparing ‘chhatua’ and videographed the entire process. Later, the officials interacted with the SHG members, beneficiaries and locals over the matter.
Sources said in order check infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR), the Women and Child Development department has been providing various supplementary nutritious food items to children and pregnant women under 15 ICDS projects of the district for the last two years. About 1.5 lakh beneficiaries have been enrolled for food supplements in 3,200 anganwadi centres. For smooth implementation of the programme, the District Social Welfare Office (DSWO) has engaged 26 SHGs for preparing food supplements and its distribution to the centres.
But locals alleged that ‘chhatua’ supplied by SHGs was of inferior quality and they were cheating the beneficiaries by packing less amount of food items than the prescribed weight of the packets. Moreover, manufacturing and expiry dates as well as ingredients used in preparation of the supplement were not mentioned on the packets.
Koraput DSWO Harekrushna Pradhan, who visited some production centres run by the SHGs in Jeypore, said the videograph of the entire process of ‘chhatua’ preparation and a detailed report will be submitted to the Collector and the department soon for further action. Similar irregularities had also been reported in Jagatsinghpur and Balangir districts recently. Even some SHGs were disengaged from service in Balangir after allegation of irregularities in supply of foodstuff to different anganwadi centres came to light.