Jammu, 03-04-2018: Alleging large scale irregularities, massive bunglings and misappropriation of funds in the implementation of MG-NREGA scheme in the state, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister today petitioned the Union Rural Development Minister seeking a high level probe into all expenditures under the scheme by the J&K RDD during the last 3 years. He regretted that in the absence of ombudsman or any other monitoring authority, the huge funding under MG-NREGA scheme has been looted and plundered with none to take cognizance of the frauds in RDD making headlines in the media every other day. He said that not only the plunder of funds but the RDD officers often declined to provide replies under RTI which had invited the wrath of SIC as well with the latter admonishing the Deptt for circumventing the transparency law. Having clandestinely floundered the principles of Accountability and Transparency, Mr. Singh called for a high level probe into the functioning of the RDD Deptt under the supervision of GOI.
Pointing towards the vigilance raids in the houses and office premises of Director Rural Development besides four other officers of the deptt including ACDs, DPOs and GM of NCCFI exposing the massive scam in the tune of crores in the RDD under MG-NREGA scheme, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that it was only a tip of the ice berg and said that identical exercise needs to be conducted in all other districts of the state in view of hundreds of crores being bungled by unscrupulous elements in collusion with officers and politicians.
Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that in the absence of ombudsmen in various Districts, the funds under the MG-NREGA scheme were being siphoned off by corrupt officials in connivance with certain vested interests. He said that the flagrant violation of GOI stipulated norms in identification and execution of works, large scale variations in labour-material ratio, extremely poor quality works, fictitious bills, inflated billing for materials used, withdrawal of payments for non-existent works, diversion of funds, non provision of employment to job card holders etc were the general complaints of the public in the rural areas visited by him. He regretted that dozens of complaints filed by him with helmsmen regarding the blatant violations and other irregularities in MG-NREGA in District Udhampur particularly Ramnagar constituency with documentary evidence and on the basis of feedback received from the ground, had failed to elicit any response from concerned quarters. “GOI had issued standing instructions to all State govts in 2009 for immediate creation of the institution of ombudsmen at District level in their respective states so as to check pilferage of rural development and employment guarantee funds provided to the states under the scheme. While the state of J&K has availed thousands of crores under the said national flagship scheme, it has failed to initiate any action whatsoever with regard to appointment of ombudsmen in the state”, Harsh regretted.
Asserting that the appointment of ombudsman was delayed and denied with ulterior motives in J&K, Mr. Singh cautioned that any further delay would invite strong public reaction with Panthers Party holding protests outside offices of various RDD officers including the Ministers concerned. He said that the appointment of ombudsmen, having powers to take disciplinary as well as punitive action against the offenders under the MG-NREGA Act, would further serve as a deterrent upon the corrupt and dishonest officers of the Rural Development Deptt. He appealed the Chief Minister and Union RD Minister to take due cognizance of the MG-NREGA frauds and further ensure the early constitution of the much delayed monitoring and Evaluation Authority on the lines of ‘Lok Pal’ as envisaged under the Act.