Pulses scam: Orissa minister quits, 3 officers face action (Second Lead)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

BHUBANESWAR - Orissa’s Woman and Child Development Minister Pramila Mallik Saturday resigned and at least three senior government officers faced action over a scandal involving irregularities in the supply of pulses to children.

Mallik submitted her resignation after coming under attack from not only the opposition Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also from some ruling Biju Janata Dal leaders. She submitted her resignation to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“Minister Pramila Mallik has submitted her resignation to me. I have forwarded it to the governor (M.C. Bhandare) for acceptance,” Patnaik told reporters.

The alleged scam came to light after the state vigilance department last month claimed that there were irregularities in the supply of pulses to children and women under various welfare schemes.

Chief Secretary Bijay Patnaik told reporters that action against three Indian Administrative Service officers has been initiated over the scam.

While the collector of Balasore district has been transferred, the vigilance department has been asked to file charge sheet against former collectors of Deogarh and Mayurbhanj district, he said.

The opposition Congress and the BJP described the resignation of the minister and action against the officers as drama.

“A scam of such a huge magnitude could not have been possible without the knowledge of the chief minister or his office,” said state BJP president Jual Oram.

The state government supplies pulses under the mid-day meals scheme, the integrated child development scheme and the supplementary nutrition programme.

The vigilance department has not registered any case as yet but it submitted a report to the government last week seeking approval to widen the probe.

Mallik said she resigned on moral grounds. “I was waiting for the vigilance report. The report has clearly said that I was not involved,” she said.

“But I decided to resign because the opposition parties have been targeting the government and the chief minister over the issue,” she said.

Filed under: Politics

will not be displayed