Schools assistant inspector caught allegedly siphoning off mid-day rice

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IMPHAL October 2: An assistant inspector of schools has been hauled up by police for allegedly siphoning off rice meant for mid-day meals for students provided under the Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan,( SSA) scheme.

The apprehended person is identified as one Meisnam Nimai,presently A.I. and also deputy inspector in charge of Moirang zone. According to the statement given by the accused to media, rice meant for 93 schools for three assembly constituencies of Thanga, Karang and Moirang for the months of July, August and September was transported from FCI godawn, Sangaiporou yesterday.

The rice consignment consisted of 628 bags of 50 kgs each and were deposited at Moirang Girls High School for storage and distribution.

He testified to mediapersons that out of the consignment, a total of a hundred bags were siphoned off and sold to a trader at Moirang Lamkhai. The school authorities of the area are also involved in the scam, he added further. 

Police also picked up the trader identified as Moirangthem Robin, 42, of Moirang Lamkai and recovered the bags of rice from his shop this morning. According to Robin, the rice was allegedly brought to his shop by one Khaba, a resident of Karang island, Moirang.

Khaba had identified himself as a self-styled social worker and gave the rice bags on credit at a sum of Rs 550 per bag.

The scam unfolded when members of the School Monitoring Committee (SMC) of Moirang High School suspected siphoning off of the rice meant for mid day meals for quite some time.

Vice chairman of the committee P Jugeshwor said that the SMC members of the school got information from the peripheral areas of the three assembly constituencies of fluctuations in provision of the mid day meals by school authorities.

The club members along with the committee members have been keeping a constant vigil in the transportation and distribution of the allocated rice. Yesterday, the truck had arrived for downloading the consignment but had left abruptly. The members noticed something fishy and informed the Bishnupur police.

In turn, the police arrested the driver of the truck (NLO5D/8266) and later handed him over to Moirang police station.

From the confession of the driver, it was learnt that rice bags were downloaded at a Moirang Lamkhai grocery shop. The rice was later recovered and the shop owner hauled up for questioning. The assistant inspector along with the shop keeper has been  brought to the chief judicial magistrate, Bishnupur and have been remanded to police custody for five days.   

School Management Committee member P Jugeshwor further told IFP that those who are violating the right of the students by depriving them of their mid day meals, especially the concerned SSA officials should be taken to task and the investigating authority should also address the issue further. He appealed that the school monitoring committees of the area should remain vigilant and report problems of the schools to concerned authorities.

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