In yet another controversial and seemingly dictatorial decision, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Saturday announced that the distribution of free rice to villagers in the Union Territory, a scheme intended to benefit more than half of its population, will be stopped if villages are not free from open defecation and garbage.
In a statement, she said the free distribution of rice “shall be conditional to the certification of the village being open defecation free and free of strewn garbage and plastics by submitting a joint certificate given by the MLA and the Commune Commissioner to the Civil Supplies Commissioner.”
The new decision will be implemented from June, even as she gave a deadline of four weeks to concerned authorities and villagers to keep their surroundings clean.
Linked Free Rice distribution to respective constituency MLAs & Commune Commissioners Certifying villages open defecation free and of strewn garbage and plastic.
Free Rice reaches out to more than half d population primarily in rural areas
This is d learning of morning round today pic.twitter.com/CCIaVAGdDT
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) April 28, 2018
“Till then the free rice supplies will be kept on hold and in safe storage. It shall be distributed to the beneficiaries on the village being certified clean. The certification shall also be cross checked to ensure its veracity. All constituencies are given four weeks notice to clean up their respective areas to be entitled for the free rice. The notice period ends on May 31st,” she said in a statement.
“I am very anguished at the slow pace of rural sanitation. Last two years, I have not seen local representatives and concerned public officials determined to make rural Puducherry clean within a time frame. I am sorry this cannot go on. This was the 155 Morning Weekend Round Of Team Raj Nivas spanning over the last two years. Yet we have not transformed in proportion to the effort and energy that has gone into. In all our rural visits we have seen community leaders putting forth various demands on behalf of the people, but I have never seen any of them impatient at cleaning up the village in their constituency. Which is the cause of several diseases also in the village through contamination of water,” her statement said.
“I am sure the community leaders including concerned public servants will take the lead in this transformation. I also urge the NABARD to support only NGO who has inbuilt waste management as integral part of its training programs,” she said.
V Narayanasamy, Puducherry Chief Minister was not available for comment.
Tweeting pictures of littered neighbourhoods, she said: “Linked Free Rice distribution to respective constituency MLAs & Commune Commissioners Certifying villages open defecation free and of strewn garbage and plastic. Free Rice reaches out to more than half of the population primarily in rural areas. This is the learning of morning round today.”