Rampant Corruption and misappropriation of Government funds sanctioned by the central government under the ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) in the state level has resulted in the loot of the entire project fund by the social welfare department of Assam instead of feeding children supposedly under mal nutrition in between the age group of six months to six years under CNP (Child Nutrition Programme).
Out of the many districts affected severely by this current wave of corruption and siphoning of government funds to satisfy the various officer’s personnel pockets, Jorhat has immerged as the fore runner in depriving a child of his right to study and meals provided under the ICD’S scheme. An independent enquiry by Times of Assam regarding the implementation of the programme under ICDS has revealed serious flaws in the shape of false list of fictious child beneficiaries whose names has been entered in the register books as maintained by the Anganwadi members under directions from their supervisors and CDPO’s (Child Development Project Officer). What can be assumed that these false lists when counter checked, signed and granted by the supervisors, CDPO’s, District Social Welfare Officer and the Divisional Programme officer (DPO) fetches the Anganwadi centers a monthly grant of several thousand rupees in the name of procuring food and fuel to run these centers, the amount which is finally divided from top to bottom equally in absence of real children. Times of Assam have found out centers as run by one Archana Goswami in Ambikagiri Path in Jail Road, Mandira Phookon in Tarun Ram Path, Kaveri Gogoi of Katoni Par in Koronga, Nikunja Borah of Malow Ali center where they could not establish the identity of the child beneficiaries. On contacting the CDPO Indrani Borthakur and Jyoti Bikash Dutta in-charge of the two different circles and asked about the serious anamolies in the schemes, both expressed over camera that they were not in a position to disclose any official matters and will have to take orders from the DPO, Alok Rajkhowa before actually they could talk and furnish information. Ironically both the CDPO’s suggested that we must apply for any information sought through RTI.
Moreover except for existence in official papers of the Social Welfare department, it has been alleged that most Anganwadi centers are not physically constructed and the entire amount allotted towards the construction of these Anganwadi Kendra’s has been gulped by the contractors and the department officials who have a close nexus in between. Two such centers identified so far by Times of Assam is one in Dohotia and the other in Titabor Sub Division of Jorhat district. When Times of Assam repeatedly tried to contact the DPO Mr. Alok Rajkhowa, he informed us over phone that as he was too busy with official schedule and has to look over the various Anganwadi centers and the implementation of ICDS schemes simultaneously in the five districts of Jorhat, Golaghat, Sivsagar, Dibrugarh and Tinsukia of which he is in-charge, hence would not be able to spare time for the moment.
Time will prove the effectiveness of such programmes of CNP under ICDS which is centrally aided with a mere ten percent assistance from the state government. In absence of corrupt free officers, policy makers and ministers both at the State and central level to see through the success of such programmes. While corrupt practice is credited to make schemes for the general upliftment of the poor and the down trodden and squeeze them of their blood by refusing them right to education and quality food.