There are as many as 338 households who have taken up works under the scheme, of which the experience of over 100 families have raised questions at the possible misappropriation of funds at the GP level.
A beneficiary on condition of anonymity informed that he has completed 102 days of work and he was supposed to get a sum of Rs 6,000 but the website states Rs 11,425 as amount paid. However, he clarifies that the actual amount that was payable to him has been credited into his account. “Is the Panchayat not gobbling another Rs 6,000 in this way,” he questions.
Another beneficiary, Suresh (name changed) says that after 30 days of work, he was supposed to get Rs 3,750, which has been mentioned as amount paid in the website, but his account has not yet been credited with the same.
While another job card holder Sangeetha said that though the website marks Rs 1,133, Rs 1,130, Rs 1,030 and Rs 412 as amount paid for various individual works done by her, she has received only Rs 1,130 and Rs 1,033. She had brought the issue to the notice of the authorities concerned and after an inquiry, the above said Rs 1,030 was paid to her. She adds that her wage book was scratched and rectified by the officials later, which can still be seen.
Beneficiaries add that though the rate of areca, coconut and banana saplings have been stipulated by the Horticulture Department, the website has deviated from the price list.
“An areca sapling costs Rs 21, coconut sapling costs Rs 30 and a banana sapling costs Rs 30 according to the price list. When we look at the website, the officials have mentioned Rs 46 paid for one areca sapling,” says a beneficiary.
Noticing this difference, the villagers did bring the matter to the notice of various officials including the Zilla Panchayat CEO and Deputy Commissioner.
The villagers had recently visited the Ombudsman for MGNREGS Sheena Shetty and brought the issue to his notice. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shetty said that the villagers had approached him as a delegation and brought the matter to his notice. “I have suggested the villagers to first go and file individual complaints with the Executive Officer of Taluk Panchayat. In case action is not taken, then ombudsman will take it up,” he said adding that misappropriation of funds is evident.
Rejecting all possibility of misappropriation of funds, ZP CEO P Shivshankar said that the differences might have occurred only due to procedural problems. He said that the problem in Kaniyana GP is more ‘political’ in nature than technical as there are certain individuals playing behind the scenes with intention of making profits, by raking issues of this sort.
“We did hold an inquiry and found that there is no misuse of funds. Initially we did allow the works to be done without the Action Plan because we wanted more people to take up the works. Now we are facing problems because of all the relaxations we did to boost works under NREGS,” said CEO vouching that there would be no instance of non payment for works executed or payments done for undone works in the GP.
He said that such instances are found in many GPs, which the officials are rectifying, emphasising again that there has been no misuse of funds.