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Sharmili Mallick

Several villagers, claiming to be the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), sat on demonstration in front of the Sirigida panchayat office under Telkoi block in Keonjhar district after locking up the sarpanch and other officials inside the office alleging irregularities in allotment of houses under the Central scheme.

As per reports, when the beneficiaries learnt that the sarpanch of the village, Jinki Patpingua along with the Panchayat executive officer (PEO) and other officials had come to unfurl national flag on the occasion of the 75th Independence Day on Sunday, they rushed to the panchayat office to apprise the sarpanch about their problems.

While speaking to the sarpanch, the village level worker (VLW) allegedly pushed an agitating woman beneficiary in order to disperse the gathering. Infuriated on this, the beneficiaries locked the sarpanch and the PEO inside the panchayat office and sat on dharna in front of the office. They also raised slogans against the officials for the irregularities in the housing scheme.

Several hours later, the local police rushed to the spot after getting information and managed to pacify the agitating beneficiaries before rescuing the sarpanch and other officials.

The PMAY beneficiaries alleged that though they had earlier submitted a written complaint to the district collector and also met the Block Development Officer (BDO) regarding the large scale irregularities in allotment of pucca houses under the scheme, the concerned authorities are yet to take any action.

The villagers also alleged that the officials of the panchayat were taking bribe to sanction the amount meant for construction of PMAY houses.

Janhvi Das, a resident of Sirigida panchayat alleged, “Even if my name was there in the beneficiary list, I am yet to get funds for the construction of a pucca house. When I approached the local authorities with the complaint, the officials asked me to submit some documents and Rs 50 but no steps have been taken so far to address the issues. A local of Sirigida panchayat has got three houses under the government scheme but we do not even have one house.”

Meanwhile, the VLW could not be reached for comments over the allegations while the sarpanch Jinki Patpingua assured that immediate and appropriate steps will be taken to resolve the issue. 

“Everyone is equal and we do not favour a particular person. If their names are present in the beneficiaries’ list, they will be allotted pucca houses. We only want the development of the panchayat. I don’t know who is taking bribe,” said the sarpanch.

(Edited By Pradeep Singh)

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