Pro-poor step taken by Rayagada Police: Seizing PDS rice meant for people facing social and economic exclusion

Report by Badal Tah, Rayagada : National Institution for Transforming India-NITI Ayog of GOI in collaboration with United Nation’s Development Programme(UNDP) and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative(OPHI) Department of International Development, University of Oxford in its recent study on National Multidimensional Poverty Index: Baseline Report & Dashboard has identified Rayagada district having more than 48% population, who are multidimensionally poor. Lack of food security is one of the primary dimensions.

A survey carried out by Delhi-based IDInsight, a global advisory and data analytics firm, on behalf of Niti Aayog found that weak distribution of Take Home Ration (THR) as well as lack of awareness among its beneficiaries remained a strong barrier in the path of nutrition in Rayagada district.

Adding salt to injuries, in the recent past, huge quantity rice meant for distribution under Public Distribution System(PDS) is usurped by mafia-govt official nexus. In many places this Rs.1/kg rice is available in open market and recycled & finally find place in FCI godowns.

Fortunately, Rayagada police under the leadership of SP Vivekananda Sharma, IPS, has taken strong initiatives to curb this plunder. Recently Gunupur police conducted raid in Penkam village, seized 3000 kgs of rice meant to be distributed to BPL families and nabbed the culprits under Essential Commodities Act. Similarly after a police raid in a cashew factory at Chalakamba under Gunupur police limit, 5000 kgs of PDS rice alongwith an Ashok Leyland truck was seized and two culprits arrested u/s.420/34 IPC / Sec.7 Essential Commodities Act. The PDS rice is meant for BPL-card Holders in Govt. Schemes and those were about to be illegally transported to Andhra Pradesh State. It was found that the accused persons have procured the same in very low rates that was meant for the poor people and were cheating the public by selling it in higher prices for their monetary gain. Investigation is in progress to nab other culprits involved in the case. Thus Rayagada police has raised hope and expectation among Rayagada people, who are mostly poor & ultra-poor.


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