Ramakanta Biswas

Ganjam: Residents of Jagannath Prasad block in Ganjam district alleged massive irregularities in the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The locals alleged that though there is provision to engage labourers in the MGNREGS works, machines are being used for execution of various works under the scheme. They said they are unemployed for a long time now due to Covid-19, but have not been allotted works.

Santosh Nayak, a resident of Jagannath Prasad said, “We have job cards, but no one provides us work. We are force to do other business to maintain our family. Sometime the contractors take away job cards from the labourers and give Rs 100 to 150 in lieu. But I have not given my card to anyone.”

Kabiraj Behera, another resident said, “The government should engage labourers for digging pond, construct road and other works under MGNREGS and help them during this Covid-19 times. But in all panchayats under this block, machines are being used not labourers. The contractors are collecting job cards from the labourers and misappropriating the funds.”

A local sarpanch also admitted the irregularities and alleged that no action is being taken into the matter by the government.

Nilachal Khilar, sarpanch of Khetamundali panchayat, said, “Not a single labourer is engaged in the execution of MGNREGS works. The works are being done in the night using machine. I have submitted written complaints to Collector, sub-collector and block development officer, but no action has been taken in this regard so far.”

“I had also reported the matter to the vigilance. As the vigilance also turned down my plea, I have filed a petition in the Orissa High Court demanding a probe into the matter,” Khilar added.

(Edited By Rashmi Ranjan Mohanty)