Nayagarh: An amount of Rs 7.50 lakh has been misappropriated without constructing protective railings along a 300-metre long road in Baunsabati panchayat under Bhapur block of Nayagarh district. This fact has come to light through a reply to an RTI.
According to a report, the residents of Baunsabati Harijan Sahi of Baunsabati panchayat have been demanding the setting up guard walls along the road for a long time. However, the funds allotted for construction was misappropriated through a false bill and the railing was never built.
The tribal villagers, including women, staged a demonstration in front of the panchayat office Thursday demanding action against the guilty.
“We have been demanding construction of guard walls along the 300-metre long road for a long time. However, nothing has been done in spite of the promises made to us. Later, from the RTI reply, we learnt that the money meant for the wall was embezzled through a false bill January 7, this year,” said the agitating villagers like Prabhakar Nayak, Narendra Nayak and Sanjay Pradhan.
“We have met the sarpanch, a samiti member and the block development officer and submitted written complaints, seeking action against the guilty. We decided to launch a strike as no disciplinary measures were taken against those involved in the embezzlement. We will continue to do so, till action is taken on this issue,” the villagers added.
The agitating villagers also said that two panchayat level representatives have taken Rs 5,000 as bribe from tribal people of Baunsabati Harijan Sahi promising them to give work orders under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana scheme.
“We haven’t got any work order as yet. Whenever we want the refund of our money, they threaten us saying they would file police cases against us,” the villagers informed. They said that these two panchayat representatives should also be punished.
The villagers have also urged the administration to change the name of their village. “The village is inhabited by 230 people belonging to 40 families of the Bishwabasu Sabar community. There is only one Harijan family in the village. So for that family, naming our village as Harijan Sahi is inappropriate. We are also not getting any benefits that the Harijan family gets,” alleged Bhikari Dehury and Mahendra Dehury.
When contacted, PD, DRDA Subhas Chandra Ray said he had not received any report regarding the strike. “However, we will investigate the allegations raised by the villagers punish those who are guilty,” he added.