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Party workers plundered funds sanctioned for destitute under MGNREGA
How NC Govt misused central grants to lure voters
9/23/2019 11:23:52 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Sept 23: National Conference while being in power in Jammu and Kashmir in the past has brazenly misused the central funds in order to gain vote bank an lure its supporters.
Its initial investigations into the issue reveal that various works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or MGNREGA were sanctioned at various places in Kashmir valley including the north and south areas to the national conference workers much ahead of the parliament and state elections of the year 2014.
Government in the past had already constituted a high level committee to probe the irregularities. Reports inform that plethora of works were accorded to various NC workers who not only denied the livelihood to thousands of destitute in valley but at the same time bartered this central government scheme for the petty political gains.
The government has, as per the reports, written a detailed report to the Government of India (GOI), intimating the union ministry over the liabilities worth crores of rupees and embezzlements done in the tenure of Omar Abdullah to MGNREGA.
"The government in the past tenure received a series of complaints over the functioning of the scheme with several people raising pitch over the clear violation of the norms and work being sanctioned to the blue-eyed persons," sources said, adding that no action was taken over the repeated complaints due to the political interference marring the system.
Sources revealed that the scheme was dominated by the workers of then ruling national conference from north to south while as officials were also coerced to follow the diktats.
Interestingly, while throwing rules to wind, it has come to the notice of the department that at several areas in valley the job cards under this scheme which were issued to the laborers engaged for developmental works have been kept by the village level workers (VLWs). Norms suggest that the cards cannot be issued to village level workers but since they were in possession of the political connections, non heed was given to the rules.
Pertinently reports inform that due to the irregularities the labor budget for Kashmir division under the scheme was reduced from Rs 374-crore to Rs 347.
Pertinently, in the year 2013 after detecting "large-scale irregularities" in implementation of the centrally-sponsored scheme in central Kashmir's Budgam, GOI stopped funding for the scheme. The move came at a time when the state government was making tall claims on ensuring 'transparency and accountability' while executing development works in rural areas.
The GOI took strong note of the irregularities committed under MGNREGS and Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) schemes in Budgam district on the basis of a report submitted by a monitoring agency, appointed by the Union Rural Development Ministry to scrutinize the program.
Now, with scrapping of Article 370 and union government's pledge to weed out corruption in Jammu and Kashmir, chances are high that the skeletons will tumble out of the closets very very soon.
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