Opposition alleges irregularity in scheme, govt data shows 94% of Diwali kits distributed

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The NCP on Wednesday alleged that distribution of Diwali kits by the state government to the 1.6 crore ration card holders is yet to be completed. Data from the food and civil supplies department, however, showed that 94 per cent of the kits – comprising one kg each of rawa, sugar and chana dal as well as one litre of palm oil, to be sold at a subsidised rate of Rs 100 – have already been distributed.

The state Cabinet, on October 4, had announced the decision to distribute these kits, naming it as ‘Anandacha Shidha’ (kit of joy). The items were to be distributed in a bag and the scheme cost the state exchequer nearly Rs 500 crore.

Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, NCP’s Ajit Pawar, told mediapersons, “The scheme was meant for Diwali. But we are getting reports that many villages and ration card holders are yet to receive the kit. This name of the scheme should be changed to ‘kit of sorrow’.”

Pawar said tenders for the scheme were issued in a non-transparent manner. “The distribution was halted as bags were not ready and even the food material had not reached ration shops,” he alleged.

The NCP leader added that he will put forth the data before the Assembly during the Winter Session of the state legialture.

However, according to official data (access by The Indian Express), the state was to distribute kits to 1,61,49,332 ration card holders. As of November 22, 1,53,18,286 kits have been distributed. The government data claimed that it has achieved more than 99 per cent distribution of kits in Palghar, Nasik, Solapur rural, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Amaravati and Bhandara districts.

The scheme courted controversy from the very beginning as tenders were issued even before the Cabinet cleared the proposal for the same. Department minister Ravindra Chavan had then claimed that this had been done as Diwali was approaching.

“We had received nine bids, of which six were eligible and five participated in the final process. Maharashtra State Co-operative Consumer Federation Limited had given the lowest rate of Rs 279 per kit and was thus awarded the tender,” Chavan had added.



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