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Probe panels formed on MNREGS irregularities in Rajasthan’s Bikaner

Following reports of alleged irregularities in executing projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGS) scheme, the Bikaner district administration has constituted a number of committees to probe into the charges and submit reports within 15 days

jaipur Updated: Feb 09, 2018 21:26 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Jaipur/Bikaner
Rajasthan news,MNREGS irregularities,Mazdoor Kissan Shakti Sangthan
The injured whistleblowers with civil society organisations led by Nikhil Dey (right) allege irregularities in NREGA works in Bikaner, at a press conference in Jaipur on Friday. (HT Photo.)

Following reports of alleged irregularities in executing projects under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGS) scheme, the Bikaner district administration has constituted a number of committees to probe into the charges and submit reports within 15 days.

The district collector has also directed to take necessary action against public representatives, officials and employees, if found guilty.

In an order dated February 2, Bikaner district collector Anil Gupta said that a reality check conducted by a private TV channel, revealed serious irregularities in the executing of the rural job guarantee scheme.

MNREGS project director and joint secretary who were camping in Bikaner, have asked the district authorities to constitute a number of committees to probe into projects under the scheme in panchayat samity in Nokha, Panchu, Bikaner, Shri Dungarpur, Khajuwala, Lunkaransar and Kolayat.

The probe committees have been directed to submit its reports within 15 days in person to the district collector and also recommend action against officials who are found guilty.

Sukharam Meghwal, a villager from Bikaner’s Roda, accompanied by members of Mazdoor Kissan Shakti Sangthan, addressing newspersons in Jaipur on Friday, said in 2015-16, he was sanctioned to construct a cattle shed but the sarpanch kept delaying supplying quality construction material.

Repeated demands yielded no response from the Sarpanch, who instead took offence, he said.

Meghwal further said that on receiving no response from sarpanch Maniram Bishnoi, he lodged complaints with the Lokayukta, the chief executive office of the zila parishad and district collector about the sub-standard construction material.

He further alleged that on February 1, he was assaulted by the family members of the sarpanch. Demanding arrest of accused, he wrote letters to the state chief secretary and director general of police, he said.

Investigating officer Banwari Lal Meena said the accused are absconding and investigation is on.

Bishnoi, however, rubbished Meghwal’s allegations, saying the charges were baseless.

Meghwal has a habit of lodging complaints on a number of issues, he said.

“To construct the cattle shed, he manipulated the muster-roll and withdrew ₹ 1.20 lakh and since has been asking for bricks to be supplied from a particular local supplier.

“Besides digging a pit with a JCB machine he has done nothing else. No money has been lifted from government for material.”

Om Prakash Meghwal, another villager, said that fake job cards were being issued to sanction funds for constructing cattle sheds by the Sarpanch, which he found out last year.

“When, I raised the issue in front of the sapranch, he asked to bring three other job cards. A sum of Rs 20,000 was deposited in my account but nothing for the other two cards,” he alleged.

Social activist Nikhil Dey said large scale irregularities were taking place in MNREGS.

The Supreme Court had directed all states to constitute independent audit agency but in Rajasthan and Haryana, it is still need to executed, he said.

“It is the state government, which is responsible for the irregularities in MNREGS as they do not want to constitute independent auditing of the central government-funded scheme.”

Dey further said that the Union rural development ministry in September asked the state government to setup a social audit unit as an independent registered society.

First Published: Feb 09, 2018 21:26 IST