Phulbani/Lathore: COVID-19-induced difficulties rendered thousands of people jobless. The government laid a lot of stress on implementation of MGNREGS in rural areas to ensure work to migrants and job card holders.
However, irregularities in MGNREGS projects have defeated the intention of the government in Chakapada area of Kandhamal district and Khaprakhol area of Bolangir district during the pandemic times, reports said.
A report from Phulbani said, scores of card holders have not been provided work at Panaspadar village under Chakapada block, but surprisingly their names have been mentioned in muster rolls which goes to mean they were provided work in official records. These jobless people have been leading a miserable life without work.
Gram Rozgar Sevaks (GRS) and Village Mates are involved in the irregularities, it was alleged.
Locals said GRSs take away job cards of beneficiaries with assurance that their wages will be credited into the bank accounts. Later, a part of money is paid to card holders while rest of the money is misappropriated. This is how things have been going on over years, they rued.
Surprisingly, even the job card number and the bank account of a dead person (Birat Nayak) were shown as a beneficiary in the MGNREGS muster roll. This was related to reconstruction of Domuhani-Jhagadpata road which was carried out at Rs 5 lakh in 2020-21. Villagers alleged that this has been happening for last 13 years.
The beneficiaries are supposed to get Rs 207 as daily wage while Rs 150 has been credited to their accounts.
Barun Kahanr, a local, said he was given work 25 times while the total payment made to him was Rs 2000 only.
Rabindra Dalabehera, another beneficiary, alleged that though the sapranch and the BDO were apprised of the irregularities, they did precious little.
Khirad Chandra Behera alleged that he had dug out 36 pits in 2019 and was supposed to get Rs 370 per pit. “I was to get Rs 14,000, but received all of Rs 4000 only,” he lamented.
This year, he was paid Rs 150 as wage instead of Rs 207. When asked about the irregularities, BDO Anil Kumar Patnaik parried the question.
Similarly, irregularities have allegedly been committed in various MGNREGS projects in Karuanjhar panchayat under Khaprakhol block of Bolangir. Samiti member Sata Bhoi, ward member Gouri Chhatri and people of Chauladiha, Masina and Sanagurjibhata villages have sent a complaint letter to the panchayatiraj and drinking water department through post.
Besides, some people like Kamakhya Prada Singh, Ghanashyam Sarap, Rukha Dharua and Jaga Nag have complained of irregularities in the MGNREGS work before the Collector, the PD and the Patnangarh sub-collector, and Khaprakhol BDO.
In 2020-21, funds meant for a model tank at Palipada were bungled while lakhs of rupees meant for upgradation of a playground at Chauladia were misappropriated.
They alleged that many people have not been provided work under MGNREGS, but they were paid wages in their accounts. Karuanjhar panchayat Bijaylaxmi Bag had denied allegation of any irregularities.
Locals have demanded a high level probe into the alleged irregularities.