Ram Kirpal (name changed) has come back to his village after 6 months of working as a marble cutter in Surat. Kirpal's family-his wife and three children) moved to Surat three months back as there was no way to sustain themselves in Kolawar Raipur - their village in Banda district.
But his Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme job card tells a different story.
According to it, he has been given three weeks' work under the job plan in the past 6 months. "When I went to Surat, I gave my job card to the pradhan's son. He gave me R300 in return and promised to give me R1500 when I came back. I have come back to collect the money," he said.
According to Raja Bhaiya, a social activist, the pradhan's family is in possession of about 30 job cards.
"Money for work that is done by other villagers is withdrawn in the name of those who have left their job cards in possession of the pradhan. The ones who have worked do not get anything."
While officials are aware of the fraud, no action has been taken in the absence of a formal complaint. The pradhan refused to comment.
"Everyone wants in on the scam running in the name of the job plan here. People, along with the land and cattle, have become unproductive and are coming into the habit of bailouts. Those who are ready to work hard don't stay in the village as it has nothing to offer, especially after the long drought," said a government official from the collectorate's office, Banda.
Villagers, who are either too old or too sick to work, have also given their job cards to the pradhan.
"I am too old to work and by giving my job card to the pradhan I have ensured that I get a small monthly income of R100," said Shambhu, 67, (name changed).
But for those who get cheated, these reasons mean nothing.
"I worked very hard to earn the money. To see it being deposited in the account of those who did not lift a single brick is heart rending," said Behari Lal, a villager who alleges that he has done work worth Rs 3000 but has not been paid anything.
This is the final part of the three-part series on the misuse of MGNREGS in Uttar Pradesh.