An NGO today claimed that a centrally sponsored child development scheme in Meghalaya had incurred a wasteful expenditure of over Rs 24 crore during 2009-10 and 2010-11 by allegedly supplying substandard, unhealthy nutritional supplements to children.
Leading women NGO activist Agnes Kharshiing said the matter came to light recently when a company supplying Integrated Child Development Services supplements to Uttar Pradesh recently came under the Supreme Court Commissioner's scanner for allegedly unscrupulously manipulating and profiting from this programme.
The same company was also a supplier for nutritional supplements for Meghalaya including pre-cooked instant noodles containing flavour enhancer MSG (mono-sodium glutamate), malted milk product and milk powder, the activist said.
Initially, Meghalaya government followed the Supreme Court orders to engage local women's groups and SHGs to procure and supply the food items to Anganwadi Centres.
However, contractors were allowed a back door entry in the name of being manufacturers and all this was done without any public knowledge or public announcement/tender, she said.
They not only started supplying pre-cooked instant noodles with MSG called 'Yummy' but also unknown brands of biscuits, milk powder and malted foods, the anti-graft activist said.
Independent tests proved that the Social Welfare Department of Meghalaya and its contractors/manufacturers incurred an average expenditure of Rs 12 crore a year by supplying the substandard, unhealthy nutritional supplements to children under the supplementary nutrition programme through Anganwadi Centers, in violation of Supreme Court orders, the activist claimed.