The largest block in the state, Pragpur, in Kangra district is finally getting back on the track after an embezzlement scam brought it into the news for all the wrong reasons late last year, and virtually stalled the administration.
The reason, an inquiry into the misuse of funds in the office of the BDO, Pragpur, is nearing completion. Funds of around Rs 42 lakh allotted under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) had been embezzled by officials of the block by forging signatures of senior officials and false resolutions of panchayats.
The directorate of the rural development and the district administration got a detailed inquiry conducted through a three-member team of auditors who pointed out the involvement of the accountants in forging the signatures of the BDO and also drawing money on the basis of bearer cheques.
An FIR in this regard was lodged at the Dehra police station. The inquiry reportedly scared people so much that no one wanted to be posted here.
In September this year, the government appointed an IAS officer as BDO of the developmental block. Upon taking the charge, the new BDO, Lalit Jain, has terminated the services of one of the accountants involved in the embezzlement.
The record of the accounts has been handed over to the police for investigation. A detailed inquiry report on the alleged scam in the development block has also been submitted to the directorate of rural development.
Jain, who is assistant commissioner development-cum-BDO of Pragpur, said the administration was focusing on formation of self-help groups under the Integrated Watershed Development Project (IWDP) so that there could be sustainable livelihood in rural areas. Some of the SHG's were working on vermicomposting, dairy farming and training in tailoring.
Seven panchayats have been selected under the solid and liquid waste management project and their plans are being prepared. Work here will start in January.
“More than Rs 42 lakh has been released under schemes such as the state development plan, the MP/MLA local area development schemes. Another Rs 70 lakh has been released under various other schemes,” he said.
“Consultations on various issues plaguing the block-like staff shortage, policy problems have been discussed at the block level during the review meeting of the principal secretary, rural development, held at Dehra recently,” he added.