Puducherry LG Kiran Bedi Recalls Controversial 'Clean Up Or No Free Rice' Order

| April 29 , 2018 , 09:43 IST

Facing backlash, Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi on Saturday recalled her earlier order specifying that the union territory's poorest families entitled to free rice would not get the grains for next month unless they 'clean up' their village. Bedi had earlier demanded that the villagers produce a certificate stating that their respective villages are open defecation free and clean before they can receive the free rice from the government.

"The hospital wants machines. You want free rice, old age pension, widow pension... You want everything but you can't keep your village clean, which you have to do," Bedi rebuked villagers.

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"If you want dialysis machine (at local state-run hospital), clean up your village. You want free rice, clean up your village... Men, women children, everyone clean up your village. "(You have) one month's time. It will be given to you only on the condition that the village is clean," Bedi said.

Bedi alleged to the administration that community leaders in rural areas were vociferous and proactive in seeking better facilities from the government but did not express the same enthusiasm for following sanitation campaigns as per the Swachh Bharat programme.  

Soon after, Bedi in a letter to Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said that she had ordered the civil supplies commission to send notice to all the villages, giving till May 31 time to clean up the villages before withholding grains.

Bedi's directives led to controversy as a result of which she withdrew her earlier orders.

"In view of misreading of my intent to improve d living conditions of rural poor & in view of assured commitment that rural areas will be Open defecation free by June 2018, I have clarified my earlier communications to put at rest any misgivings.Tom shall b my 156, weekend round," Bedi tweeted.

Sandeep Ranawat

What was wrong with the order? We bear no sense of social responsibility and cleanliness. We prefer to take money from government for building toilets and then defecate in open. We want everything to be taken care of by the government, but have no sense of responsibility towards society. No wonder, we are where we are.