Bhubaneswar: The state government has finally admitted to rampant corruption in rural housing schemes in the state. Government officials are exploiting poor people who want to have shelter. This was revealed from a statement of panchayati raj & drinking water minister Pratap Jena in the Assembly Tuesday.
According to the statement of Jena, 836 government servants have been taken to task for being involved in corrupt practices during implementation of rural housing schemes such as Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana -Gramin (PMAY-G) and Biju Pucca Ghar Yojna (BPGY) since 2017.
The highest 162 officials have been taken to task in Jajpur district while punitive measures have been taken against 89 officials in Nabarangpur district, 81 in Nuapada, 61 in Bhadrak, 60 in Dhenkanal, 59 in Kandhamal, 58 in Sundargarh, 46 in Khurda and 40 in Angul district. No official was found guilty in three districts such as Jharsuguda, Malkangiri and Rayagada.
The minister said 22 government servants have been disengaged while 79 were suspended for their involvement in corrupt practices over past two years. The government has issued show cause notice for disengagement against 268 officials and framed charges against 35 others during this period, he said.
Besides, 432 officials were asked to give explanations for irregularities in execution of rural housing schemes. Punitive measures have been taken against officials based on complaints of corruption in the rural housing schemes.
The government started taking action for irregularities in the rural housing schemes after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked Collectors to stop corrupt practices going on in the schemes.
In June 2017, Naveen had admitted ongoing PC (percentage) culture and asked District Collectors to stop collecting bribe for undertaking government work orders at block-level in the state. “The PC collection system should be stopped,” Patnaik had said at Collectors’ conference here. Following the order, the vigilance wing of the government woke up and started taking action. However, the vigilance action has slowed down.
To stop the rot in BPGY, the government had also issued guidelines for introduction of lottery system for selection of beneficiaries. However, the lottery system was revised following lobbying by block level officials.