MCP says corruption ruined ICDS
IMPHAL, Jan 5: The Maoist Communist Party has charged that the mass-scale corruption at the highest level is taking the Integrated Child Development Scheme on the roads to doom. According to a press release issued by its secretary publicity and propaganda, the group said after the broadening of the scheme the numbers of Anganwadi centres have touched 4501. Under the provisions of the scheme, the lady health visitor and auxiliary nurses from these centers are assigned the task of moving from house to house to tend to the sick children and pregnant women and dispense general medicines, it said. Under the programme, the centres were also required to children to provide food for 300 days a year to children below six years belonging to poor families and new mothers.
But the top level officers of the social welfare department have grouped together and are collectively siphoning the huge amount of fund released for the execution of the scheme themselves. As a direct outcome of the mass scale corruption, many officers of the department have constructed multi-crore rupees mansions, the statement said. It further charged that projects like the Swayamsidha, Swadhar and Old Age Home 22, operated by the social welfare, have become more or less inactive. Many Anganwadi centres have been abandoned as their quality had not been maintained during construction.
The contract works were handed over to contractors with the blessings of influential leaders and the departments cared just about grabbing their cuts from the contractors and have turned a blind eye on supervising the manner in which the work had been carried out, the party charged. The extreme measures taken up for termination of the 4501 centre under ICDS were necessitated due to the corrupted practice by officers of the department, it added. The individuals engaged as mothers and helpers at the centres are dutiful and have dispensing their duties with efficacies. However, the Anganwadi centres have been on the spiral path to destruction due to the inability of the department to release the due amounts in time or misappropriation of the same.
The MCP charged that officers and the minister in charge of the department are knee-deep involved in embezzling unknown amount without the knowledge of the public. There is no evidence of the lady health visitors functioning and the hordes of medicines meant for public supply have been grabbed in connivance by the suppliers, officer and minister. Also, huge quantities of food materials allocated under the schemes have been robbed by the suppliers, it added urging the public to realize that crores of rupees have gone into the pockets of individuals. The MCP wanted to inform the people that the time has arrived to start a campaign against the department, the statement asserted, adding that it will offer all possible help without any reservation.
Will need time to bust Maoists in Kerala: IG purohit
Kozhikode: Kannur Range IG Suresh Raj Purohit who recently took over ‘Thunderbolt’, the anti-Maoist operations in the State, by the special commando force, said it was beyond any doubt that there was a meticulously woven Maoist network in the jungle zones of the state.
Talking to DC on the imminent threat in the offing along the borders, he said the people of the State had always been complacent, living under the belief that such things would not happen. “But it is a fact that it is here and we should make plans to face it”, he said. Purohit said the jungle was vast and a mechanism to break into the Maoist network was yet to be evolved. “No one knows when and where they appear and where they vanish to”, he said. “We have no magic wand to catch them instantly and resolve the problem overnight. It is not a cat and mouse game.”
Red Scare Hits Road Projects
With Maoist menace continuing to take its toll on life and property in Sambalpur district, welfare projects have been gravely affected. Although Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has declared to sanction `100 crore for different projects in Soseng and Sunabeda gram panchayats located deep inside Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, no contractor has come forward to take up the projects in fear of Maoists.
Last year, the Maoists killed APR constable Prakash Rout, Special Police Officer Debendra Dharua, Siksha Sahayak Chaitanya Majhi and businessman Bishnu Meher. According to reports, 12 roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) are yet to take off despite tender floated by the Rural Works Division, Nuapada twice. The total 91.90 km of road is supposed to be constructed at an estimated cost of about ` 38.86 crore. All the roads are located in Maoist infested areas of Dharambandha, Dhekunpani, Chulabhat, Katinpani, Silaribahara, Kendubahara, Gidnipani, Amanara, Dalipakhan, Bhainsadani, Patdhara.
With reports of Maoists targeting contractors’ camps, setting fire to equipment and vehicles and killing of contractors on the rise, no contractor is willing to take the risk of executing the work. Moreover, it is not possible for the security forces and the police to provide round-the-clock security cover to the contractors and the workers and hence the tender is not evoking any response. While most of the roads are located in the periphery of the sanctuary in Nuapada and Boden blocks, the solitary road under Komna block will connect Sunabeda with Dekhunpani.
A 5-km road to be constructed at an estimated cost of about ` 2.20 crore is located inside the sanctuary area which is considered a haven for the Maoists. Meanwhile, the post of Executive Engineer has been lying vacant for the last couple of years with Executive Engineer, Rural Works Division, Dharamgarh, Niroj Sethi in additional charge. Talking to Express, Sethi said the tender for the 12 roads under PMGSY would be floated again besides 12 new roads inside the sanctuary. He is optimistic that the contractors will evince interest in the projects this time.
50k paramilitary troopers to be hired in two years
Reeling under acute shortage of staff, the Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) plans to hire 50,000 more troopers in the next two years. This addition, which is roughly 50 battalions, is expected to meet the current shortfall of about 26,000 men in the sanctioned strength of about 9 lakh. Official sources said the expansion of the CAPF is due to “heightened demands” as well as “rising expectations” from them since the last decade.
Of these, about 38 battalions are proposed to be raised by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) with the rest to be divided among the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and the Border Security Force (BSF), documents assessed by HT reveal. At present, the biggest CAPF is the CRPF with 207 battalions. Besides, the CAPF also include Assam Rifles, Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and the National Security Guard (NSG).
Functioning under the Union home ministry, all these forces have distinct mandates ranging from insurgency, combating Maoists to guarding the border or protecting vital installations and undertaking surgical operations. Maoist-affected states remain the main battleground for India’s paramilitary forces with about 38% of the total strength being deployed across these areas, followed by about 26% deployment in insurgency-affected Northeast and about 21% in Jammu and Kashmir. Only 15% of the forces are deployed in other states. About 1,100 paramilitary companies operate in Maoist-affected states out of 2,862 companies. In the next four years, the government plans to spend R11,000 crore on the upgrade of the seven CAPFs.