‘Golden Thousand Days’ fund misused

Rajbiraj, June 16

Irregularities have been reported in the fund of the World Bank sponsored Sunaulo Hajar Din (Golden Thousand Days) campaign in Saptari.

The findings came to light after a report was submitted estimating that around 66 per cent of the total amount allocated for ward-level programmes, now in the phase of implementation after approval by the district-level Nutrition and Food Security Committee, will be used up in the construction of latrines.

As per the campaign, Rs 119.7 million has been set aside for 29 village development committees in Saptari. As per the provision, the amount could be spent under some 15 different headings, including balanced diet, safe delivery, nutrition for children and sanitation.

Interestingly, 66 per cent of the budget is being spent under some other heading, that is, for building latrines, according to project coordinator Ramesh Yadav.

The district public health office here has recognised malnutrition as a big challenge requiring immediate steps to tackle the problem very soon.

“The project is for women and children, so how is it rational for them to spend funds in building latrines when there is need to tackle malnutrition among kids and pregnant women?” asked experts, who feared that the nutrition project may not meet its objectives.

RPP Nepal district Chairperson Aakash Kumar Yadav rued the misuse of the fund.

“This could have happened as the concerned persons who launched the campaign failed to involve people in its implementation and did not understand its objectives,” the RPPN leader said.

Yadav, however, expressed confidence that the campaign would meet its objectives despite everything.

On the other hand, the project, running in the district for the past three years has failed to clear advance payments made at different times over the years.

According to sources in Saptari District Development Committee, a whopping advance payment of Rs 24.412 rupees is yet to be cleared and settled.