HC seeks payment details of nutritional items supplied to Anganwadi Centres

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The High Court on Wednesday sought details of date-wise payments made to the contractors supplying nutritional items to the Anganwadi Centres in state.      
Division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Ardhae directed the authorities concerned to file an affidavit indicating the details of date-wise payments made to the contractors supplying nutritional items to the Anganwadi Centres in state.      
The direction was issued on a PIL petition filed by an NGO, Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Forum, represented by advocate Shafqat Nazir.
Advocate Shafqat Nazir informed the court that the authorities concerned “disbursed crores of rupees as payment to the contractors supplying nutritional items to the Anganwadi Centres in the state after the court issued notice to the government”.    
This, he said, “has been done to frustrate the cause agitated in the PIL.”
Meanwhile, the court permitted impleadment of some contractors as parties in the PIL who had approached it though senior advocate Jahangir Iqbal Ganai.   
Meanwhile the court issued notice to Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and J&K government to file objections to the PIL seeking to evolve a rational policy for procurement and distribution of nutritional supply in state Anganwadi centers.    
The court also issued notice to Commissioner Secretary Social Welfare department, Mission Director J&K Integrated Child Development Services Scheme (ICDS) and Commissioner Food Safety J&K.  
The Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Forum through its Secretary General M M Shuja has filed the PIL seeking among others reliefs, a probe by any agency preferably the CBI into approving rate contracts for supply of nutritional items to the Anganwadi Centers in the State. 
It also seeks directions for cancellation of the rate contracts approved by Mission Director with regard to supply of nutritional items to the Anganwadi Centers.
The PIL also seeks directions to Mission Director and his subordinate officials restraining them to release any payment to the suppliers of nutritional items to Anganwadi centers for 2018-2019 and instead credit the amount to the account of the beneficiaries as per the Supreme Court directions and CVC guidelines. 
The Forum in its petition alleges that the Mission Director ICDS J&K for “extraneous considerations and mala fide intentions and in active connivance of the so-called successful bidder issued approval order of annual rate contract for supply of nutritional items for ICDS programmes in his so-called capacity as chairman State Level Purchase Committee whose term of office had expired on 26.04.2018”. 
The Forum contends that the whole process of procurement and approval of rate contracts “is patently void and illegal as the respondents in connivance with each other have approved the supply of all substandard, spurious, misbranded nutritional items at the cost of health and nourishment of thousands of young blooming buds”.  

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