Bhubaneswar: As people and corporate houses are donating generously to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) in Odisha, the government is diverting the fund for other reasons. According to information availed through RTI Act, state government has spent around 129 crore rupees from the CMRF for Aahaar, a scheme under Housing and Urban Development Department (HUDD).
The objective of the Aahaar scheme, started in 2015 , is to provide cooked rice and dalma at Rs 5 at places of public congregations in the urban areas. Currently there 157 Aahaar centres in 114 urban local bodies.
Information says, around 157 crore rupees has been spent to provide free meals in 157 Aahaar centres in three years, out of which State Government has spent 128 Crore 76 Lakh 14 Thousand rupees. Rest of the money was collected through CSR, local donation and charity.
Social and Environmental activist Biswajit Mohanty says,
This (Aahaar) is not relief work. This is how Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik blows up money meant for relief and natural emergency.
Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) portal says, this fund provides required treatments to the distressed people affected by the major natural calamities like flood, drought, fire accident etc, and it also provides the financial assistance to the needy individuals for their treatment of major diseases like; Cancer, Cardiac surgery & Kidney transplant, Brain Tumor, Liver & Multi Organ failure etc.
CMRF was created in the year 1954 to provide immediate relief to the people in distress of Odisha. This fund depends upon budgetary allocation provided by the Government of Odisha and Voluntary donation received from the general people and several organizations related to social responsibility.