M A I N   N E W S

Ramesh writes to Maya over misuse of NREGA scheme
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, October 25
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today shot off a letter to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati asking why the CBI should not probe into the misuse of the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the state.

The move, an almost obvious attempt by the Congress minister to corner Mayawati by flagging her government’s alleged “inaction on corruption” ahead of the Assembly polls scheduled early next year, did not find much favour with the Opposition. Senior BJP leader Yashwant Singh in turn advised Jairam to issue similar directives to Congress-ruled states like Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.

Ramesh said the UP Government had not taken any worthwhile action on findings and recommendations of National Level Monitors (NLMs). No action has been taken on 22 NLM reports, which had pointed out grave irregularities, the minister wrote, adding the state government chose to ignore State Quality Monitors that pointed at irregularities in four districts: Sonbhadra, Mirzaopur, Kushinagar and Sant Kabeernagar.

He then went on to say that if the state government had nothing to hide, it should have no objection to a CBI probe, referring to a scam in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which is also being probed by the central investigating agency.

However, even though UP takes the lead when it comes to action, or rather inaction, on cases of corruption in MGNREGA, other states too follow closely behind.

Consider this: Of the 2,250 complaints received by the ministry till July 26, only 1,003 were shown as disposed off. As many as 1,247 complaints continue to be pending across the country with UP, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar being the worst offenders with 421 out of 827, 208 out of 396, 122 out of 233 and 128 out of 163 complaints, respectively, awaiting disposal.

Records also prove that if complaints under MNREGA are ever resolved by lackadaisical state governments, it is some lower some level official who is indicted in maximum number of cases.

While thousands of discrepancies have come to light in NREGA works ever since the programme was launched in 2006 during the tenure of UPA-I, officials say majority have escaped attention. Some cases like the “Agra ke Taj Mahal se Dilly ke Lal Quile tak Sampark Marg” came under the scanner only because of their sheer absurdity.

In fact, a bewildered Rural Development Ministry is still trying to figure out how a computer data operator managed to pull the amazing fraud of “constructing” a road on paper from, believe it or not, the Taj Mahal in Agra to Red Fort in Delhi under MNREGA!





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |