Nayagarh/Bhapur: Bhapur block in Nayagarh district has become a den of corruption with reports of severe irregularities plaguing various developmental works in the area. These wrongdoings continue to take place as the district administration has allegedly failed to act tough against the wrongdoers.
However, what has come as a surprise is that the contractors have allegedly siphoned off funds over four crore rupees on the pretext of construction of 98 ponds and 59 deep bore wells without actually doing the work. They have prepared false bills by forging the signatures of the beneficiaries in alleged connivance of the officials to siphon of the money. What is noteworthy is that the Vigilance department in Bhubaneswar had directed its Nayagarh cell to conduct a probe and submit a report, August 3.
However, over a moth has passed since then but the Nayagarh Vigilance officials are yet to take up a probe. According to information available under Right to Information (RTI) Act, as many as 98 ponds under Mo Pokhari scheme and 59 deep bore wells have been constructed within 2017 to 2022 in Talamarada, Jhagadpada and Padmabati villages under Padmabati panchayat of Bhapur block. The members of Padmabati village committee have alleged that the projects do not exists in reality. The names of the 29 beneficiaries mentioned in the government records do not have a piece of land of their own to avail the benefit. They have questioned on which basis the projects were allotted in the name of these 29 beneficiaries and who all received the money sanctioned for the projects.
Peeved over the development, the members of Padmabati village committee have lodged a complaint with the district Colllector demanding his intervention. The members have alleged the involvement of sarpanch, her husband, a samiti member, gram rojgar sevak (GRS) and the contractors as well the block officials in the fraud. The accused persons have forged the signatures of beneficiaries to avail the money. They have bribed the beneficiaries to silence them and siphoned of the funds sanctioned against their names.
A person in Jhagadpada village siphoning off funds sanctioned against five ponds by including the name of his father, uncle, daughter and sister-in-law as beneficiaries is a case in this point. When contacted, Nayagarh Vigilance DSP Srikant Kumar Behera said that the probe has been delayed due to flood. They have asked the Bhapur BDO and Padmabati sarpanch to submit the records and the probe will start once the papers will be available to them, he added.