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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Irregularities emerge in MGNREGS implementation in Odisha

PTI  Koraput, Odisha, March 14, 2013
First Published: 14:29 IST(14/3/2013) | Last Updated: 14:36 IST(14/3/2013)

Ghenua Durua of Pujariput village in Boipariguda block of Odisha's Koraput district died in 2009. But official documents show he worked as a labourer in avenue plantation along Kaudiaguda-Ramigiri-Gupteswar road under MGNREGS between October 12, 2012 and January 30, 2013 and earned Rs. 4,536 as wages, a voluntary organisation claims.

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Ananda Paraja of Sujili village under Dasmantpur block died eight years back, but earned Rs. 540 by working in construction of a road from Hattota to Madhubisali in the block in December 2010.

Kamulu Paraja (45) of Rajuguda village under Dasmantpur block is physically handicapped and has never worked. However, official documents show Kamulu was engaged in construction of a road from Rajuguda to Malkangiri and earned Rs. 8,250 as wages in 2011.

Such alleged irregularities in execution of MGNREGS in Koraput district came to fore during a social audit by a voluntary organisation at six villages each in Boipariguda and Dasmantpur blocks in the last week of February.
 
"At least 462 job cards of the two blocks were randomly downloaded from MGNREGS website and the families of the job card-holders were surveyed. During the survey it was found that in most cases, names of deceased persons have been mentioned in the muster roll and money has been withdrawn against them," said Bidyut Mohanty, secretary of SPREAD, the voluntary organisation which carried out the survey.

According to Mohanty, while use of machines inprojects under MGNREGS has been prohibited, the executing authorities used machines and entered false job card numbers at a later date to withdraw the wages.

Apart from entering names of deceased and disabled labourers, the officials concerned also inflated the working days of the labourers. "Official records show 3,649 days of employment had been generated for 462 households between January 1, 2012, and February, 2013 and Rs. 455 lakh paid as wages. But the survey found 3,230 days of employment for which Rs. 234 lakh had been credited to accounts of respective labourers," Mohanty said.
 
It was also found that most of the labourers are unaware of their accounts at post offices. They were asked by contractors either to sign or put thumb impression on withdrawal forms and their wages were withdrawn by later, who did not pay the labourers. "We have presented our findings to the administration for necessary measures," Mohanty said.

Koraput Collector Sachin Jadhav said "administration will verify the cases and if anything wrong is found remedial and penal action will be taken".


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