Free Press Journal

High Court scraps tender, Pankaja Munde in a spot


Mumbai : After losing a key ministry and inviting a controversy over use of Twitter for communicating with the CM, Women and Child Welfare minister Pankaja Munde appears to have landed in deeper trouble with the Aurangabad Bench of the Bombay High Court scrapping the controversial Take Home Ration scheme announced by her department.

Take home ration is essentially food grain or raw nutritional stuff given to anganwadi children for them to carry home and get cooked. Kirti Karwa, secretary of Women Self Help Group Federation, had complained of irregularities in the process of awarding tenders worth Rs 12000 crore.

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The Bench comprising Justice S V Gangapurwala and Justice K K Sonwane raised a question mark over the issue of a tender notice for only 70 SHGs, though there are 553 registered and 314 active SHGs in the state. The high court has now directed the government find out how many SHGs are eligible for the tender.

The tender notice was processed by the finance, industry and women and child welfare ministries. Leader of opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, too, had also raised issue and claimed that the tender has been drafted in such a way that only three major player wouild have benefited. He had demanded that the entire procedure be cancelled.

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NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik on Monday demanded that the anti corruption bureau should probe the THR scheme and while the inquiry was on the minister for women and child welfare Pankaja Munde should be sacked from the cabinet.

The court decision is also a setback for Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who has tried to nurture the image of a corruption-free administration, but was forced to expel his senior most party colleague Eknath Khadse from cabinet last month over allegations of land grab. It is also a setback for Munde, who lost key ministries last week.