Naveen cracks whip on CMC biggies, party men for loot of relief material


Bhubaneswar, Oct 21:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today transferred the commissioner of Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) and suspended his deputy over allegations of misappropriation of relief material meant for cyclone victims.

Naveen who is also the BJD chief, suspended his party’s Cuttack unit chief Madhusudan Sahu for alleged involvement in looting relief materials and then returning it on Saturday after the public outcry.

“The chief minister ordered the transfer of the CMC commissioner and suspension of the deputy commissioner,” Housing and Urban Development Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said.

Soon after the chief minister’s order to probe the matter, Vigilance sleuths raided the CMC office and questioned officials responsible for distribution of relief materials and seized several documents.

 It was alleged that some BJD leaders in Cuttack had looted relief materials on October 13, a day after the cyclone hit the state.
According to reports, on the day, BJD corporators allegedly took away huge quantities of rice, dal, cooking oil, potatoes, biscuits and lanterns from the CMC office by threatening the deputy commissioner.
The chief minister’s order came a day after the central division Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Arabinda Padhee enquired into the allegations made by the Congress’ Cuttack unit.

Congress had alleged that some ruling BJD corporators of the CMC looted relief materials procured by the civic body for distribution among the cyclone affected people.

Cuttack Collector Girish S N had also conducted a probe into the allegation.

The district administration of Cuttack had supplied around 200 quintals of rice and other materials to the CMC for distribution among 40,000 evacuees, official sources said.

While the CMC had announced opening of four free kitchens to provide cooked food to the evacuees for three days, the same was not done for a single day, some Congress leaders alleged. They also alleged that some BJD corporators had forcibly taken away the relief materials from the CMC office.

The city Congress had also filed a written complaint to the Purighat police station in the city.

Pointing out that the state government had earlier announced that looters of relief would be booked under NSA, BJP spokesman Sajjan Sharma said, “Suspending BJD leader Sahu from his post clearly goes to prove his involvement in the loot.”

( With PTI inputs )


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