Scam in Covid fund: BDO to return Rs 30L

Phulbani: Covid-19 fund to the tune of Rs 30 lakh was allegedly misappropriated by the BDO of Khajuripada block in Kandhamal district. The district administration has directed BDO Rabindranath Kahanr to immediately return the embezzled amount.

On the other hand, the administration is carrying out an investigation into the alleged bungling of Rs 1.70 crore which was sanctioned for temporary medical centres (TMCs – civil construction).

The BDO is unable to give details of how the fund was utilised. Besides, he has not furnished documents pertaining to the same. The district administration has asked him to return the fund within a certain timeline.

During the pandemic, the government had made provision of TMCs in all panchayats to keep the returnees from other states in temporary quarantine. BDOs were looking after the arrangement of beds, bed sheets, pillows, mugs, buckets, mattresses and assets for the TMCs.

An investigation revealed that 90 per cent of the usable items of the TMCs were purchased by BDOs. The reports also said that a total of 647 migrants had returned to Khajuripada. As per the SRC guidelines, hygienic kits worth Rs 300 were purchased for each migrant.

Going by the calculation, Rs 1,94,100 would have been spent for purchase of kits for 647 returnees at the TMCs. The investigation revealed that the kits purchased were sub-standard while the Khajuripada BDO had misappropriated Rs 9,67,131.

Besides, there are no documents showing purchase of the kits. The BDO in his report stated that 133 beds were purchased for TMCs. However, documents for 30 beds are available while there is no trace of remaining beds. It was learnt that the government had not ordered for purchase of beds. In fact, records show that 917 beds were purchased for the TMCs.

The government had ordered for hiring generator sets, but the BDO has shown in records that he had purchased 14 generator sets worth Rs 14.40 lakh from a Jajpur-based agency. In fact, 17 TMCs were functional while returnees had stayed at 11 TMCs.

But interestingly, the BDO had purchased 14 generator sets for 11 TMCs. The BDO has also made a bill of Rs 1.07 crore towards civil construction. The district administration in its report has suggested investigations by the Vigilance and the GST officials.

However, the BDO said that he has not received the investigation report. It was alleged that Covid fund worth over Rs 2 crore had been embezzled in Khajuripada block.


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