Official Assam media’s blitzkrieg on NREGS

SILCHAR, Jan 18 : Official figures on development are quite impressive and if taken on face value will indicate there is revolutionary change in the socio-economic scenario of rural areas.

Falterings and bunglings in the implementation of multi–crore centrally sponsored schemes and projects are ignored and kept under wraps. Investigation into anomalies on public pressure is nothing but white-wash. The Rs 158 crore NREGS scam in Kalain block of Cachar is a glaring example of it.

During the recent four–day public information campaign on Bharat Nirman organized by the media units of the ministry of information and broadcasting, it was revealed that since the introduction of National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (NREGS) since April 2007, 89,186 job cards have been issued in the district of Hailakandi, benefiting equal number of families.

In all, 44,479 bank accounts have been opened in banks and post offices for the job card holders. Of the 695 works taken up under NREGS in the district, 629 have been completed.

The scheme has covered all the 62 GPs of the district. It has been claimed that social audits have been completed in all GPs.

People in general think that public grievances in respect of scheme and projects should also find equal place in information campaign in order to alert the persons concerned in misusing and misappropriating public funds. Conscious residents of 13 GPs of Algapur have brought serious allegations in the utilization of funds for roads, culverts and bridges under NREGS and BRGF.

It has been alleged that without doing any work, Rs 3.25 lakh has been misappropriated which was allotted under BRGF in Naraianpur for development.

According to the complaints of Jasim Uddin, Abdul Kalam Laskar and many other citizens of Narainpur, Rs 1.25 lakh meant for the construction of roads, Rs 1 lakh for embankment work and another Rs 1 lakh for water supply scheme, roads and culverts have also been largely misappropriated.

The records on paper about the works completed or in process do not tally with the ground reality.

Same is the fate of the fund under NREGS in Narainpur. Rs 20.45 lakh allotted for roads and culverts has also been grossly misused after doing symbolic earth work only, according to the complaints.

In Algapur part-II GP, utilization of Rs 5 lakh for 3 kms of road with culvert has also been put under scanner. It is ben alleged that after 1 km of earth work, entire money has been misappropriated.

The brazen loot of public money has raised questions about the functioning of Panchayat Raj system itself.