Hitting back at rural development minister Jairam Ramesh over the MNREGA irregularities issue, UP chief minister Mayawati on Saturday asked if any other state was being "harassed" in a similar manner and whether such an environment was being created "deliberately".
Questioning as to how so many shortcomings have surfaced all of a sudden, Mayawati said it was improper to give "baseless" information on the implementation of the scheme in the state.
Reading out the chief minister's statement at a press conference in Lucknow, cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh said, "The CM has said that giving entirely baseless and misleading information is not proper. She has requested that the rural development minister should take immediate steps to bring transparency in MNREGA".
In a recent letter to Mayawati, Ramesh had accused her of protecting those involved in alleged irregularities in implementation of MNREGA in some districts while providing names of corrupt officials.
He had cited instances of alleged irregularities and corruption in the implementation of the scheme in Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Kushinagar, Mirzapur and Sant Kabir Nagar.
Singh said the letter written by Ramesh was received by the state government yesterday, whereas it was circulated to the media on November 17 itself.
"The CM wants to know whether any other state is being harassed in a similar manner by writing letters regularly. Whether such an environment is being created deliberately," he said.
Singh claimed UP was one of the best performing states in the country as far as question of MNREGA was concerned.
"The CM has asked that how come so many shortcoming surfaced all of a sudden," he said.
The cabinet secretary said three-fourth of funds in MNREGA were being "directly devolved" to the gram panchayats in the state.
"We have received 21 reports of the central monitors in which 17 action taken reports have already been sent, whereas four others are in the pipeline," he said.
The cabinet secretary said that action was being taken by the state government wherever irregularities were detected in the implementation of MNREGA and so far 117 cases had been lodged.
"Of the district mentioned in the letter, 10 FIRs have been lodged in Sonbhadra district itself," he claimed.
He said in reply to the Union minister's letter, a detailed letter was being sent by the state government.
Raising questions over the proposed package for weavers, the cabinet secretary said the chief minister wanted to know whether it was a "political stunt".
"After forming the government in 2007, the CM had demanded a package of Rs 36,000 crore for Poorvanchal which included welfare schemes for the weavers, but there has been no positive approach so far," he said.
He claimed that the chief secretary also wrote a letter to the Centre demanding various facilities to weavers including interest-free loan, but no reply has been received so far.
"From its limited resources the state government has launched a host of schemes to improve socio-economic status of the weavers," he said.
"The CM wants to know how the Centre was reminded about the weavers after four-and-a-half years," he said.