‘Substantial’ fraud in rural job plan in Jharkhand
Following reports irregularities in use of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in Orissa, a multi-crore scam in the rural job scheme is threatening to emerge in Jharkhand.delhi Updated: May 02, 2011 00:13 IST
Following reports irregularities in use of funds under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in Orissa, a multi-crore scam in the rural job scheme is threatening to emerge in Jharkhand.
After visiting Bokaro and Latehar districts in the tribal state on March 12 and 13, a high-level team of officials led by rural development secretary BK Sinha has said the irregularities in the implementation of the rural jobs guarantee scheme are of a “substantial nature”.
In March, rural development minister Vilasrao Deshmukh had written a letter to Jharkhand chief minister Arjun Munda asking him to inquire into the murders of a MNREGA activist and a worker.
Although the act prohibits involvement of contractors, the team found that a majority of works under the scheme had violated this rule.
The act also demands that 50% of funds under the job scheme be routed through panchayats, but the team found that panchayat representatives had been kept out of the loop.
The central team detected existence of fake muster-rolls, while some projects were found to exist only on paper. Huge irregularities in wage payments have also been detected.
"We are currently in the process of finalising our report. The detailed report will be sent to the Jharkhand government," Sinha told HT.
"Irregularities in the implementation of the scheme are spread across the state. Crores (of rupees) have been siphoned off," alleged Gurdeep Singh, convener of a group called the 'NREGA Watch'.