Staff Reporter

Bureaucrats misled the UN team with fabricated data: OFMU

UN food project was started in 1986

End of this project may lead to food shortage: OFMU

BERHAMPUR: The Orissa Forest Mazdoor Union (OFMU) wants the State Government to intervene and restart the discontinued United Nations’ (UN) food project in district of the State having inaccessible remote areas.

The OFMU sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik and the chief secretary of the State on Monday with this demand. The OFMU has blamed the bureaucrats of the State for the discontinuation of this UN project for the poor living in remote areas of the State. The general secretary of the OFMU, Dandapani Mohanty said the bureaucrats misled the UN team with fabricated data to prove that the UN scheme was not needed as the Public Distribution System (PDS) of the State was running efficiently. The OFMU alleged that in reality the PDS the tribals living in remote jungles had no link with the much claimed PDS system of the State Government.

The UN food project was started in all districts of Orissa in 1986. Under the project, the forest labourers, bamboo cutters and plantation workers used to get two kilograms of rice, 200 grams of dal, 200 grams of oil everyday through the nodal agencies like Forest Department or private companies involved in bamboo cutting in lieu of the work the labourers did part from their wages. In 1996, the scheme was revised and it was continued in 16 districts of the State instead of all the 30 districts.

In 2003 the number of districts under the project was reduced to six. This project was provided 24 lakh man-days of employment to the forest workers living in remote areas. But the UN food project was discontinued from March 31 this year. As per OFMU end of this project may lead to food shortage among tribals .