Nayagarh/Bhapur: Allegations of misappropriation of Rs 51 crore under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has come to the fore in Bhapur block of Nayagarh district. Locals alleged that the fund meant for supply of various construction materials has been misappropriated through vendors’ accounts. They have taken up the issue with the block development officer (BDO) and demanded an investigation into the alleged scam. They also demanded that 20 vendors whose names have been used for embezzling funds be blacklisted.
According to the complaint, various irregularities have been committed in the MGNREGS in the block in the past. Now, another scam has come to the fore. Several vendors’ accounts have been opened in banks in the names of some individuals and organisations who had been entrusted to supply construction materials like steel rods, cement, chips, sand and gravel for MGNREGS projects.
It was learnt that over 25 vendors have supplied construction items under MGNREGS between 2017 and 2022. Of them, 20 vendors have been involved in irregularities in the block while in the last five years bills of several MGNREGS projects have been forged.
In some projects, machines have been used in work while false muster rolls have been prepared to embezzle funds. Funds were allegedly siphoned off without doing any work in most of the cases. Some of the irregularities have also been detected through investigations. Some other investigations are underway.
Official records showing creation of workdays have been falsified while some vendors have been shown favouritism. Here is a glaring example of the irregularities: Bills of a single road project have been cleared 21 times and Rs 5.61 crore (including 18 per cent GST) has been embezzled. GST money was misappropriated by a vendor. In another case, the husband of a gram rozgar sevak (GRS) has embezzled Rs 10.44 crore along with the 18 per cent GST. The brother of another GRS has bungled Rs 11.63 crore and most of the projects have not been executed. BDO Janmejay Sahu said that some allegations have been received. “Investigations have started. If there are other irregularities, people are told to come up with allegations. The allegations will be probed and action will be taken against the guilty,” he added.