In Madhya Pradesh, almost anyone can draw wages from the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, as a national level monitor found out. The list of beneficiaries included the dead, hospitalised, outsiders and even government officials.
Jyotiraditya Scindia, Guna MP and MoS for Communications and IT, brought the irregularities being committed in the state’s Shivpuri district to the notice of the Rural Development Ministry. Immediately, a national level monitor was rushed there to look into the matter.
The official visited six panchayats and two block headquarters and office of the District Rural Development Agencies at Shivpuri and Bhadravas. He found irregularities had been committed in the payment of wages under NREGA, ministry sources told HT.
In Barai panchayat of Bhadravas block, wages had been paid to many dead persons, government officials and a large number of outsiders. Similarly, in gram panchayat of Sirsod in Karera, the muster rolls were filled with fictitious names. Wages were even paid to persons who had been hospitalised for that period.
The ministry asked the state to take strict action against the defaulters. Accordingly, Sirsod gram panchayat sarpanch Ashok Dhakad and secretary Pavan Sharma were disqualified from holding the posts for six years. FIRs were lodged against Barai gram panchayat sarpanch and secretary while janpad panchayat sarpanch Karan Singh Parihar was disqualified. Karera janpad panchayat chief executive officer was issued a show cause notice.
The ministry has asked the state to get works carried out under the scheme inspected regularly — 2 per cent by the state level officer, 10 per cent by a district officer and 100 per cent by a block officer. It also stressed that unless the state takes corrective measures, release of funds would be subjected to compliance of its directions.