State forms panel to examine MGNREGA irregularities

Bhubaneswar: The state government has formed a committee headed by chief secretary to scrutinize alleged irregularities and diversion of funds under MGNREGA conforming to Centre’s guidelines.

The panel would inspect whether the beneficiaries are being paid as per actual wage hours, timely payment of wage and utilization of funds under various programmes, especially poverty alleviation programmes.

State government has formed the committee following union ministry of rural development’s green signal to CBI to probe alleged irregularities in the rural job scam under MGNREGA.

“The panel would look into allegations as a result of which transparency would be promoted. Besides, there would be proper utilization of funds,” Panchayatiraj Minister Prafulla Samal said.

As per reports, the government received complaints of alleged irregularities from almost every district in the state. In a letter shot to Puri district Collector, Rural Development Department Commissioner in-charge Sushil Kumar Lohani had highlighted that only a meager 2 per cent work has been completed in the district. As per the letter, 135 projects have been completed out of 5613 projects. This apart, wage for 6220 days have not been paid, the letter said.

Besides, a sum of Rs 389.63 lakh has been handed over to 4983 beneficiaries after a delay of over a fortnight.

“The records have not been updated. There work progress is much higher than the figures indicated in the online records,” Puri Collector Fakir Charan Satpathy said.

Lohani, in his letter, asked the Collector to fix responsibility on the authorities overseeing the projects. Instead of manual labour, machines are being used violating the guidelines, the letter said.  

The above allegation was leveled by Opposition Congress also few days back.

“We would give evidence to CBI how funds are being siphoned off and machines have replaced manual labour,” Congress leader Lalatendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra said.

It may be recalled that the state government had filed a 500-page response in the apex court pertaining to extent of fund released to the state between 2006 and 2010. The state government, in its response, had stated that action has been taken against around 600 errant officials in connection with the implementation of MGNREGA scheme.