Odisha: Malkangiri Deputy Collector’s Wife ‘Owns’ Ration Card; Stirs Row For Availing Land Benefits

Malkangiri: The wife of the Deputy Collector of Malkangiri district in Odisha has landed in a soup for allegedly using a ration card in her name to obtain a land rights certificate or patta for her house in Malkangiri town.

Binotarini Mandal, wife of Malkangiri Deputy Collector Lalit Mandal, allegedly paid less revenue to obtain the patta by using the ration card, meant for Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, in her name.

Binotarini allegedly paid Rs 10,811 only — which ration card holders are entitled to pay — to obtain the patta for the house in ward no. 15 from the Malkangiri municipality office on August 20, according to media reports. The amount is higher — Rs 65,000 — for financially well-off families who are not eligible for ration cards.

Municipality executive officer Ashok Chakrabarty said a showcause notice has been issued to her and she has been asked to deposit the remaining Rs 55,000 in the municipality office soon, TNIE reported.

District civil supplies officer Ajay Kumar Ratha was quoted in the TNIE report as saying that the ration card issued in favour of Binotarini was cancelled on August 16 after it was found that she was the Deputy Collector’s wife. The Deputy Collector’s name was not mentioned in the card and Binotarini’s father’s name was mentioned, Ratha was further quoted as saying.

Lalit Mandal, an OAS officer working as an emergency officer in the Malkangiri collectorate, was quoted in the TNIE report as saying that he was not aware of the ration card issued in his wife’s name. Quoting his wife, Lalit said it was issued in 2017-18 when NGOs were carrying out a survey. It was never used to avail any benefits, he claimed.

“The state government will be apprised of the matter and urged to order a probe into how she managed to obtain the ration card and who all were involved,” Malkangiri block civil supply officer Hrushikesh Nayak told mediapersons.

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