‘We don’t procure sub-standard mask, we encourage hand made three-layers masks under the Ministry’s guideline’

‘We don’t procure sub-standard mask, we encourage hand made three-layers masks under the Ministry’s guideline’

Written By: / Tuesday, 07 July 2020 18:43

IT News

Imphal, July 7:

Officials of the Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Department today said that there is no question of procuring sub-standard handmade masks for distribution to the MGNREGA workers. Reacting to a news report appeared in yesterday’s edition of this newspaper, an official of the RD & PR talking to some reporters said that three layers handmade masks are being procured from various Village Level Facilitators (VLF) formed by groups of Self Help Groups comprising of women only.

“As per the ministry guidelines, we encourage the VLFs to produce handmade three-layers-masks that are also washable and re-usable for distribution to the active job cardholders under MNREGA”, the official said.

In connection with some of the sub-standard masks showed to Imphal-Times yesterday by some reliable source, the official said that they have no idea of how those could be claimed as those masks which we procured and kept in packed.

“If in case any such masks showed to Imphal Times office were found, we will immediately return it to the producers”, the official said showing a bunch three layers masks made by various VLFs.

Government of India has advised encouraging homemade masks and even the Chief Minister of Manipur had appealed the people to wear masks while going out of their respective home and so providing protective masks to active job card holders of MNREGA  is mandatory during this COVID-19 pandemic.

In connection with the fund for procurement of the masks, the PR & RD official said that those masks for protection of the MNREGA workers and the promotion of the local self help groups which numbers are over thousands are utilized from the Administrative fund.

“6% of every sanction amount for the MNREGA are meant for administrative expenditures and the guideline permits to utilise the fund for public propose to counter the spread of the COVID -19 pandemic”, the official said showing the guidelines that stated permissible activities under the administrative expenditures.

Utilization o the said fund is allowed under the worksite facilities mentioned in the guidelines.

As the Union Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered to allow MNREGA works, the department felt it necessary to procure the face masks and also hand sanitizers that too are locally produced, the fund for such will be utilised from the administrative expenditure, the official added.

The official also took the reporters at the warehouse where bundles of hand made masks submitted by the VLFs form by 10 to 15 SHGs. Reporters present at the scene were allowed to check the masks and found all to be three-layer masks unlike the one shown to Imphal-Times.

About the Author

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham

Rinku Khumukcham, Editor of Imphal Times has more than 15+ years in the field of Journalism. A seasoned editor, was a former editor of ISTV News. He resides in Keishamthong Elangbam Leikai, with his wife and parents. Rinku can be contacted at [email protected] 

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