Shillong: An NGO on Sunday claimed that a centrally sponsored child development scheme in Meghalaya had incurred a wasteful expenditure of over Rs 24 crore during 2009-10 and 2010-11 by allegedly supplying substandard, unhealthy nutritional supplements to children.
Leading women NGO activist Agnes Kharshiing said the matter came to light recently when a company supplying Integrated Child Development Services supplements to Uttar Pradesh recently came under the Supreme Court Commissioner`s scanner for allegedly unscrupulously manipulating and profiting from this programme.
The same company was also a supplier for nutritional supplements for Meghalaya including pre-cooked instant noodles containing flavour enhancer MSG (mono-sodium glutamate), malted milk product and milk powder, the activist said.
Initially, Meghalaya government followed the Supreme Court orders to engage local women`s groups and SHGs to procure and supply the food items to Anganwadi Centres.
However, contractors were allowed a back door entry in the name of being manufacturers and all this was done without any public knowledge or public announcement/tender, she said.
They not only started supplying pre-cooked instant noodles with MSG called `Yummy` but also unknown brands of biscuits, milk powder and malted foods, the anti-graft activist said.
Independent tests proved that the Social Welfare Department of Meghalaya and its contractors/manufacturers incurred an average expenditure of Rs 12 crore a year by supplying the substandard, unhealthy nutritional supplements to children under the supplementary nutrition programme through Anganwadi Centers, in violation of Supreme Court orders, the activist claimed.