NPRAAF Seeks Inquiry Into SKO Distribution In Nagaland - Eastern Mirror
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NPRAAF seeks inquiry into SKO distribution in Nagaland

By EMN Updated: Feb 14, 2024 10:06 pm

DIMAPUR — The Nagaland Public Rights Awareness and Action Forum (NPRAAF) on Wednesday raised concerns over alleged ‘rampant corruption’ in almost every department in Nagaland.

“The government servants in connivance with the contractors and politicians continue to misuse public benefit programmes besides fund sanctioned by the central government, without sense of guilt and accountability which is appalling,” the forum claimed in a press release.

Citing the report for ‘Social, Economic, General, and Revenue Sectors’ published by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, the NPRAAF stated that the state government has violated the Centre’s directives by diverting Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO) to the open market instead of distributing it to the targeted beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

The state government is said to have diverted subsidised SKO valued at INR 19.56 crore or 6113.19 kilo litres (KL) to the open market, it alleged, citing the CAG report which was presented during the recent Legislative Assembly.

The distribution of SKO under the PDS is regulated by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas (MoPNG), which allocates SKO to states and union territories (UTs) quarterly. It is mandatory for states to lift their entire allocation within the given quarter, with no carry-forward permitted except in cases of emergencies like natural disasters

Elaborating further, the NPRAAF stated that the CAG’s investigation of records from the Food and Civil Supplies (F&CS) Directorate in Dimapur in August 2021 revealed that the MoPNG had allocated 17,892 KL of SKO to the state during 2019-21.

However, the department reportedly lifted only 13,752 KL of SKO from IOCL during the same period.

“Upon cross-checking, the department’s lifting data with data from the Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Statistics (2019-21) as well as IOCL’s data in July 2022, it was discovered that the state government had actually lifted 17,367 KL (97.07%) of SKO, resulting in a shortfall of 525 KL during 2019-21. The department was found to have understated the SKO lifted from IOCL by 3615 KL (17,367 KL – 13,752 KL).

“Further investigation revealed that the state government had allocated 4,974 KL of SKO to 51 individuals/distributors, with no available records for the remaining quantity (1139.19 KL),” the forum claimed.

As per the press release, when these discrepancies were brought to light by the CAG, the government acknowledged in September 2022 that it had lifted 17,367 KL of SKO, and out of the 12,276 KL allotted for ration cardholders, 11,253.81 KL was lifted, with utilisation certificates furnished for 11,233.79 KL. It was also revealed that 4,974 KL was allocated to individuals.

In this connection, the NPRAAF asked the state government to initiate a departmental inquiry and fix responsibility against the officials at the earliest.

“NPRAAF will initiate its own course of action to give a logical conclusion to the issue if the state government turns a blind eye to the issue,” it asserted.

By EMN Updated: Feb 14, 2024 10:06:39 pm
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