Trouble for Maharashtra govt as Oppn won’t let chikki row die down
While the women and child welfare department led by minister Pankaja Munde is firm on its stand over the alleged chikki (nutrition bar) row, the Opposition is all set to corner the Maharashtra government on the issue this week.
Munde has refuted allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of chikki and other material meant for the anganwadis under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Reiterating her stand in the Assembly on Friday, the minister said although the purchases were made through rate contract, the quality was not sub-standard.
In a written reply to a question raised by Varsha Gaikwad (Congress) and other legislators whether the Rs80-crore supply contract was given in April under the rate contract system , Munde said, “According to a government circular dated April 17, any purchase worth more than Rs1 crore is to be done through competitive bidding, and not rate contract. On June 30, the limit was reduced to Rs50 lakh.” The purchases were made by Munde’s department in February.
Ruling out the possibility of action against supplier Suryakanta Women’s Industrial Cooperative Limited, Munde said they were given contracts in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but the department did not get any complaint regarding the quality.
The minister has been firm on her stand, since the time the Congress alleged a scam in the purchase last month. “Our stand remains unchanged and will be reiterated when the issue comes for debate in the legislature,” said a top official from the department.
The Congress and Nationalist Congress Party plan to raise the chikki scam and hooch tragedy in the legislature next week. Both the major parties in the Opposition have joined hands and decided to fight against the government, which is on a sticky wicket owing to various allegations in the past couple of months. The Congress is insistent on cornering the government on loan waiver for farmers.
The NCP, on the other hand, is in a hurry to target the BJP over corruption cases and build pressure on the government to subdue action against its leaders facing corruption cases. “We have been assured by our ally [NCP] that they will stand by us in the fight against the government. In case, the NCP leaves us midway, we will fight on our own,” said a Congress leader.
The army recruitment rally for women under the Agnipath scheme for general duty in corps of military police will be held from November 1 to 3 at Manekshaw Parade Ground in Bengaluru, a notification from the Defence ministry said. Eligibility standards Eligible candidates should be 17.5 to 23 years old, with height of 162 centimetres. Candidates need to have passed class 10/Matric with 45% marks in aggregate and 33% in each subject.
The Bombay high court on Wednesday confirmed the interim protection from arrest granted earlier to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Kirit Somaiya and his son Neil after police said that they did not have any evidence of misappropriation of funds by the duo in the INS Vikrant case. The HC was also informed that a 72-hour notice would be issued to them if they were required to be arrested.
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday made its first arrests in connection with the Bengal school recruitment scam in which former minister Partha Chatterjee and his aide Arpita Mukherjee were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on July 23. The CBI arrested convenor of the special advisory committee, Shanti Prasad Sinha formed for the appointments and Ashok Saha, who was a secretary of the state School Service Commission.
MEERUT Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait on Wednesday targeted the BJP government and exhorted farmers to be united and be ready for a movement, if they wanted to protect their lives and land. Tikait was addressing the first 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' panchayat in Bitawda village in Muzaffarnagar's Budhana area on Tuesday on the call of Sanyukt Kisan Morcha, which has planned a series of similar panchayats in the region in days to come.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday spoke to his Punjab counterpart Bhagwant Mann regarding disposal of sewage problem in Indira Gandhi Canal Project and its relining work. The historic work of relining about 106 km of Indira Gandhi Canal has been done by the Rajasthan government during the canal closure in the last three years. On Tuesday, Gehlot had spoken to Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project.