Andhra Tightens Monitoring Of Food-For-Work Programme

Hyderabad: | Updated: Jul 29 2002, 05:30am hrs
In a bid to clear the air over irregularities in the Food for Work (FFW) programme, the Andhra government has appointed an outside agency to inspect the works carried out by the administration using FFW funds provided by the Centre.

Of the 3.8 lakh works undertaken by the district administration under the FFW programme, about 10 per cent of is being inspected at random by the Engineering Staff College of India (ESCI), a non-governmental institute. The institute has reportedly found irregularities in at least 10 per cent of the 34,441 works that it inspected.

Besides, the state vigilance department also carried out 1,307 inspections based on complaints and newspaper reports. The irregularities that they found include diversion of rice, excess payments, usage of sub-standard materials etc. After conducting enquires in 2,917 cases, the government has booked about 200 officials.

However, Opposition parties in the state, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, are of the view that the sample size should be enlarged, especially as random inspections have brought to light irregularities in as much as 10 per cent of the works. As per the ESCI report, among the irregularities noticed, 1,832 cases were major ones.

While the Centre has allotted 31.50 lakh million tonne of rice to the state, it has so far utilised 23.80 lakh mt. Since chief minister Chandrababu Naidu wants to extend the programme, he has sought an additional 10 lakh mt of rice to continue the works, in view of drought conditions in the state.