Drawing Flak From All Sides, Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi Withholds ‘No Rice Till ODF’ Order
Drawing Flak From All Sides, Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi Withholds ‘No Rice Till ODF’ OrderPuducherry Governor Kiran Bedi. (Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

After her order disallowing villages with open defecation from availing a free rice scheme drew heavy criticism on social media and from political parties, Puducherry Governor Kiran Bedi has conveyed that she’ll be withholding her decision, Times of India has reported.

Clarifying her earlier statements, Bedi said, "To avoid misreading of my intention and in view of the forthcoming commitment made by the Union Territory (UT) government that villages in Puducherry will achieve Open Defecation Free (ODF) by June end, I am happy to give them some more time. Therefore I am withholding my earlier communications."

Kiran Bedi had stoked controversy when after expressing her dissatisfaction with the execution of rural sanitation schemes in some of the UT’s villages, she said that the free rice scheme will be implemented only in ODF villages.

“In the last two years, I have not seen local representatives and concerned public officials determined to make rural Puducherry clean within a time frame. I am sorry this cannot go on.” she had said earlier.

Later in a letter to the Puducherry Chief Minister V. Narayanasamy she had written, “The rice distribution shall therefore be made conditional to the certification that the village is open defection free and free of strewn garbage and plastics.”

Bedi’s letter had led to an uproar in the UT with her getting roundly criticised by several political leaders who accused her of being insensitive to the needs of the poor.

The ruling Congress with its ally DMK in Puducherry have been at loggerheads with Bedi ever since she was appointed in 2016 as the Governor. The Puducherry government had even sent an appeal to the central government earlier for her to be recalled.

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