STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Odisha government's free meal scheme turns into community feast amid coronavirus lockdown

As roads to most of the villages have been blocked with barricades, police patrol vans can not enter the area and verify gathering at the feast point in the villages.

Published: 03rd April 2020 09:32 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd April 2020 09:32 AM   |  A+A-

Cooked food being served on premises of a gram panchayat office in Mahanga

Cooked food being served on premises of a gram panchayat office in Mahanga. (Photo| EPS)

Express News Service

CUTTACK: It’s feasting time during coronavirus. Literally. The state government’s cooked meal scheme during the lockdown meant for the destitute and needy is being lapped up by the affluent at the gram panchayat level. What’s more, they are also seen blatantly flouting social distancing norms.

After Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced that the about 100 to 200 poorest of the poor people identified in every gram panchayat would be served cooked food daily during the lockdown period, members of different Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), including sarpanchs and panchayat samiti members started implementing the order. But it was their diktat which would hold sway, not the stated objective of the scheme.

The PRI members are apparently indulging in implementation of the scheme for their own benefit and satisfying their workers and supporters. Most of GPs are arranging ‘community feast’ on the office premises, village schools and community centres where people in large numbers sit together and relish the feast in violation of the social distancing norm. Some sarpanchs and PS members also indulge in inviting people to attend the community feast arranged by them in their respective villages.

On Wednesday night, in Panaspur gram panchayat, the sarpanch invited 200 people, mostly party workers and supporters, for food distribution under the cooked scheme but 500 arrived. With more people scrambling for food, a clash ensued among the people leading to wastage.

Sources said that people attacked each other with vessels leading to a chaos. As roads to most of the villages have been blocked with barricades, police patrol vans can not enter the area and verify gathering at the feast point in the villages, said sources in police. "Ignoring the guidelines of CM, the PRI members are engaging cooks and their supporters in preparing and serving food to people," said an ex-sarpanch on condition of anonymity.

Lack of inspection and supervision by government officials is helping the PRI members to implement the free kitchen scheme in gross violation of the guidelines. "We are busy in enforcement and implementation of several important government guidelines in the wake of coronavirus. However, stringent action will be initiated against mismanagement of cooked food scheme," said senior officer of the district administration. 

Covid rules violation

About 100 to 200 poorest of the poor people identified in every gram panchayat are to be served cooked food daily Most of GPs are arranging ‘community feast’ on the office premises, village schools and community centres where people in large numbers sit together and relish the food

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp