WCD min intends to favour selective contractors, alleges Dhananjay Munde

Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Dhananjay Munde here alleged Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Pankaja Munde intends to favour certain 'big contractors' while ignoring the interests of self-help groups involved in supplying food for the mid-day meal scheme.

He said this in a meeting held at the Office of Chairman, Legislative Council Ramraje Nimbalkar to discuss the supplying of food by women SHGs which was attended by the WCD minister.

Cornering Panjaka on the issue of awarding contracts to supply food under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme, Munde alleged in the meeting that she intends to "favour" certain big contractors overlooking the interest of SHGs.

Pankaja apprised that the government in 2012 had started the process of decentralising production and distribution of Take Home Ration (THR) supplied under the ICDS scheme.

According to the norms set by the then Congress-NCP government, those women SHGs who do not use extrusion technology will not be allowed to supply food.

Extrusion is a process that combines several unit operations like mixing, cooking, kneading and shaping through machines without involvement of physical work.

"As mamy as 312 Women SHGs were given contract of supplying THR for a period of three years in 2012. Of them, 64 SHGs contracts have not been reviewed as they do not make use of extrusion technology," Pankaja said.

"We want to offer them contracts to supply THR if they fulfill the set norms. Council Chairman (Nimbalkar) has held 2-3 meetings on the issue and I hope it will get sorted out soon," she said.

Panjaka informed that it also being deliberated if a group of five SHGs can be formed and that they are allowed to get work orders through a tendering system and that she will also seek opinion of Law and Judiciary department on it.

Munde on the occasion alleged Pankaja insisted on supplying THR using extrusion based technology only and that she overlooked the larger interest of women groups.

"She was insisting on supplying THR using extrusion-based technology only. I then asked her if she is so particular about the quality of food, why did she not apply the same standards to Suryakanta chikki supplier," Munde said.

The Opposition during the budget session alleged that the Suryakanta Mahila Udyogik Sahkari Sanstha was awarded contracts without following norms and the chikkis supplied by it were of inferior quality.

A war of words had ensued between Panjaka and her estranged brother for a few minutes.

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