Shivbhojan centres under CCTV surveillance
NASHIK: Opposition parties have been accusing the state government’s Shiv Bhojan Thali Centers of rampant corruption. The Department of Food and Civil Supplies has since issued a new order. Accordingly, all Shivbhojan Kendra operators have been directed to install cameras in their Kendras at their own cost. These orders have been issued to prevent malpractices in the Shivbhojan Thali scheme.
As per the order issued by the Food and Civil Supplies Department, CCTV cameras will have to be installed in respective Shivbhojan Thali Kendras by January 31, 2022. Shiv Bhojan Kendra operators will have to install these cameras at their own cost. They should be numbered according to the capacity of the center. Also, Shiva Bhojan centre should be completely visible in every camera installed.
The center operator should ensure that at least 30 days of footage is available for inspection. When required, all data should be handed over to the authorities from the pen drive for verification. The directors have also been instructed to make alternative arrangements in case of power outage and ensure uninterrupted footage.
The department has also sent a letter to the district supply officers in the state as well as the central director. In this letter, the divisional level officials have been directed to check whether CCTV cameras have been installed at all Shivbhojan Kendras under their jurisdiction till January 31 and take action.
CCTV footage should be checked if any complaint is received while paying for Shivbhojan Kendra. If any irregularity is found in it, action should be taken as per rules. Also, care should be taken to ensure that CCTV footage is not lost until a final order is reached on the complaint.
Shivbhojan Thali Yojana has been extended to the taluka level from April due to the plight of hardworking, unorganised workers, migrants, outstation students, homeless people on the streets etc. The number of Shivbhojan plates distributed in each district has been increased five times.
Center operators await pending grant money
The ambitious Shivbhojan Thali scheme of the state government is getting good response in the district. However, it is understood that for the last three months, the directors of Shivbhojan Kendras have not received any grant. A total of 126 Shivbhojan Thali Kendras have been opened in the district including 43 in municipal limits and 83 on taluka level.
Generally, Shivbhojan Kendras are functioning in the premises of market committees, markets, stations, tehsil offices, district collector’s office. The price of Shivbhojan Thali is Rs. 50 per plate in urban areas and Rs. 25 per plate in rural areas. The state government gives subsidy on this price.
This subdidy is distributed by the District Collector to the concerned centers. In Nashik district, a grant of around Rs. 1.50 crore is deposited into the accounts of centre operators. However, they have not been paid the grant amount since the last three months.
In view of the pandemic, the centers have requested the Supply Department to provide its outstanding grants for more efficient implementation of the scheme. The grant is expected to be received by the end of January, after which the grant could be disbursed, the supply department clarified.