Scam impression on paper serai | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Scam impression on paper serai

punjab Updated: Aug 22, 2012 00:29 IST
Bharat Khanna

The village that shot into headlines for the killing of two protesters in unauthorised police firing is now in news for the misappropriation of the area development fund.

The role of Akalia's sarpanch is under the scanner again, after the details that a villager secured under the Right to Information (RTI) Act expose bungling in a Muslim serai project that remained only on paper.

On paper, the panchayat spent Rs 1 lakh on building the serai and finished the project in 2010. Subdivisional officer Daya Singh, panchayat secretary Rajwinder SIngh, and sarpanch Kaku Singh countersigned the completion certificate.

The panchayat received more than Rs 50 lakh in grant under the Central and the state welfare schemes. "Thanks to his strong political connections, the sarpanch isn't scared of the law," said villager Major Singh. "The total grants received should be compared with the money spent on the development of the village."

The RTI declaration further exposed that from 2008 to 2012, there had been no auction of the animal remains, while before 2008, the village had gained at least Rs 50,000 every year. On July 20, HT had reported an old-age pension scam in the village, where benefit was claimed in the names of the dead, and the age of ineligible villagers was enhanced in papers to pocket the money.

The money for the Muslim serai was allocated in 2010, the panchayat secretary of Bhikhi block, Rajwinder Singh, has claimed. "In the financial year 2008-09, we built a serai at Akalia village for an investment of Rs 1 lakh." The social security officer and block development officer could not be contacted, in spite of repeated attempts.

"We released the money but the community blew it up on furnishing the mosque," said Panch Hargobind Singh. "No room of the serai could be built." Confronted with the RTI evidence, he ended the telephone conversation and did not accept any other call.

Sarpanch Kaku Singh claimed the village Muslims had turned the serai into a mosque later, while the villagers claimed the place of worship was more than 10-year old.