Rajgangpur: The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is aimed at providing job opportunities for rural workers through various labour-intensive projects. However, the scheme is now marred in controversy due to irregularities in Rajgangpur block of Sundargarh district.
Surprisingly, job cards have been issued to people’s representatives and their relatives.
According to reports, job cards have been issued in the names of Rajgangpur block chairperson Basant Toppo and his wife Sushila Toppo. The latter is an Anganwadi worker.
It was learnt that a project to construct a road was undertaken near Sai Temple in Kunumuru panchayat in 2018-29. For that wages have been credited to the bank accounts of the couple.
Even in July, funds towards MGNREGS work have been transferred to Sushila’s account. This fact has posed a question mark on the execution of rural job scheme in the block.
When contacted, Basant said that he and his wife have job cards since 2009. “In 2018-19, we both had worked in the road project. Our relatives had been engaged in the work. So their wages have been paid into our accounts.” Basant said,
He also stated that due to Covid-19, the Anganwadi was closed. So his wife worked under MGNREGS scheme for a few days in July. “We are tribals. We work for a living,” the chairperson explained.
When contacted, an executive of Kunumuru panchayat said that all can work under MGNREGS and there have been no irregularities in the rural job scheme.
BDO Piyush Lohar said that there is no information about the job cards issued to the block chairperson and his wife.
According to information, there are over 60,000 job card holders in Rajgangpur block. Various outfits demanded that there is need for an investigation into how many job card holders are working in MGNREGS and how many have been left out.