Phulbani: With an aim to provide work to people under MGNREGS during the pandemic, the Phulbani block administration in Kandhamal district started the construction of a rural park at Tudipaju village. However, work has been left midway into the construction drawing anger of the locals. They have criticised the block administration for its failure to complete the project.
However, some officials pointed out that the funds sanctioned for the project were not sufficient enough to complete the work.
To provide job opportunities to the unemployed, the block administration had decided to set up the rural park. It would not only be a scope of employment, but also a chance for children living in the village to enjoy the atmosphere of a park like their city counterparts do.
Subsequently, a budget was sanctioned for the children’s park in Tudipaju village. As it was MGNREGS-related work, a villager (called ‘mate’) was given charge of execution of the project. However, the ‘mate’ failed to execute the job properly. It was not his fault alone as a large number of job card holders did not show any interest to work in the project.
Matters turned worse as both the block and panchayat officials blamed each other for failure to finish the construction work.
When contacted, Tudipaju sarpanch Mrutyunjay Kanhar said the park is to be developed for village kids. “A fund of Rs 9,00,000 has been sanctioned for the project. But we are not getting labourers or job card holders to carry out the construction work. Vendors are also reluctant to supply materials as the work order is in the name of the ‘mate’. Initially in May, some work was done, but since then there has been no progress,” Kanhar said.
The version of ABDO, Santosh Digal, a former gram panchayat extension officer, however, did not match with that of the sarpanch. “A fund of Rs 15 lakh has been sanctioned for the park. This money will be spent towards the wages of job card holders, buying materials and installing swings and carrying out other ancillary work. But construction has stopped. Efforts are on to restart the work,” Digal informed.
Junior engineer of Phulbani block Umesh Chandra Sahu when contacted gave a budget figure that did not match with those provided by the sarpanch and ABDO. “A budget of Rs 5,00,000 has been sanctioned for the park. Since money is not being released for stone chips, sand, cement etc, there is no progress in construction,” informed Sahu.