AAP accuses Maharashtra minister Pankaja Munde of graft in ₹5,439-cr take-home rations
Mumbai city news: The BJP dismissed the allegations and instead advised AAP to look at running its government in Delhi properlymumbai Updated: May 31, 2017 01:23 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde of allowing irregularities amounting to Rs5,439 crore by awarding contracts to questionable self-help groups and Mahila Mandal (women’s groups) for a scheme meant for poor children and lactating mothers.
This is not the first time Munde is facing such allegations.In 2015, she was accused of clearing the purchase of chikki, mats and books for anganwadi schools worth Rs206 crore in a single day, without inviting tenders.
The BJP dismissed the allegations and instead advised AAP to look at running its government in Delhi properly.
AAP national spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon on Tuesday alleged that Munde awarded contracts under the the Take Home Ration (THR) scheme to 18 Mahila Mandals, of which 16 were allegedly found to be dubious. Three of the women’s groups were blacklisted in the past, but still bagged contracts worth Rs4805 crore, which is approximately 88% of the total scam amount.
Menon claimed tenders were systematically tweaked to ensure genuine mahila mandals and self-help groups were kept out of the tendering process. “Munde deliberately inserted tender conditions because of which genuine groups were disqualified and people favoured by her were given contracts,”said Menon in a press conference. “These women self-help groups are merely fronts for private parties and run by men,” she said.
She also alleged lose aides of BJP state president Raosaheb Danve are associated with the contracts.
The THR scheme is implemented under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and food is supplied to aanganwaadis and lactating mothers. Following a Supreme Court order, the Government of India has prepared guidelines to ensure the supply of nutritious food through village communities, self-help groups and mahila mandals, and disallowed private contractors from bidding for contracts.
While Munde was not available for comment, her party, however, debunked the allegations saying AAP should focus on Delhi instead of Maharashtra. “AAP has a habit of making allegations without providing any proof. We have ensured transparency in the tendering process by introducing e-tenders where no one can be favoured,” said BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari. “AAP should first look at allegations levelled against their chief minister Arvind Kejriwal instead of targeting our ministers,” he said.
Nisha Gujjar, volunteer of the Jawahar Mahaila Mandal, said her outfit, despite complying with various regulations, was being overlooked. “We invested more than Rs25 lakh and are not given any work. In contrast, those with connections are favoured,” said Gujjar.