Probe yet to be completed in multi-crore MGNREGA scam

We were busy with Back to Village programme: Secretary Rural Development
Probe yet to be completed in multi-crore MGNREGA scam
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Two months on, the government is yet to complete the probe into the multi-crore MGNREGA job card scam that was exposed in this newspaper.

The inquiry team in its preliminary report has alreadyconfirmed the brazen irregularities in issuance of job cards.

It had also established the involvement of Block DevelopmentOfficer (BDO) Khovripora, Panchayat Secretary Aakhura, and Gram Rozgar SahayakAkhura.

All three officials have already been attached with theDirectorate Rural Development Department (RDD) till submission of the finalreport.

Earlier, on May 14, taking cognizance of a report publishedin Greater Kashmir, commissioner/ secretary RDD Sheetal Nanda had constitutedthe high level team headed by her Additional Secretary Sudharshan Kumar toconduct the inquiry.

Acting swiftly the team which also comprised Director RDD(Kashmir), Qazi Sarwar and deputy director planning Muhamad Ashraf had seizedrecords from the office of Block Development Office (BDO) Khovripora and alsovisited various houses to check the veracity of job cards issued in theirfavor.

However, since then the inquiry team has sat over the probe.

"It is nearly two months since the preliminary report wassubmitted, but there has been no further headway into the inquiry," said anofficial.

He said the RDDs casual approach towards this fraud willtell upon their credibility.

However, commissioner secretary RDD cited the department'sengagements with major programs as the reason for the delay in inquiry.

"Our inquiry team could not visit the block in questionagain after the submission of the preliminary report as they were busy withBack to Village program" she said.

"As soon as the team visits there, they will start preparingthe final report and submit it accordingly for further action."

As reported by this newspaper the wages drawn "fraudulently"are deposited directly into the bank accounts of middlemen and contractors,chosen by the RDD officials in Block Development Office.

The documents have revealed that hundreds of fake andduplicate job cards for workers under MGNREGA have been issued by RDD, pointingto a large scale corruption in the central government scheme, implemented inJ&K in 2008.

The flagship program guarantees 100 days of employment topeople from rural areas, without a government job. The job card is provided toa family head holding a ration card.

However, even government employees, deceased people, minorshave been shown paid while a single person holds multiple job cards so do hisfamily members under different registration numbers.

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