After UP, Jairam set to turn MGNREGS screws on MP

BJP-ruled state follows UP in rural jobs scheme-related irregularities

After a public tiff with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati over irregularities in implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Sche­me (MGNREGS), Rural Development Minister Jairam Ram­esh is set to focus on BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh.

Ramesh is likely to review the implementation of the Congress-led UPA government’s flagship rural livelihood guarantee scheme in Madhya Prad­esh and may also visit a few districts in the state soon.

While most of the irregularities in the implementation of the MGNREGS were reported from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh ranked second in 2010-11. Of the 621 complaints received by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) over irregularities in implementation of the sche­me in 2010-11, as many as 266 were from Uttar Pradesh, while Madhya Pradesh came next with 135 reports.

According to MoRD figures, the number of complaints received from Uttar Pradesh went up to 314 in 2011-12 (till November 10, 2011), while that from Madhya Pradesh dropped to 49 during the same period.

But Madhya Pradesh continued to hold the second position along with Chhattisgarh, another BJP-ruled State, in the roll of the States, where irregularities were reported from.

The complaints mainly rel­ated to cases of job cards not pro­vided, misappropriation of funds, engagement of contractors, forgery of muster roll, manipulation in job cards, under payment of wages, non-payment of wages, corruption and other irregularities, use of machinery and delay in payments.

With the Congress keen to turn corruption as its major poll-plank against Bahujan Samaj Party Government in Uttar Pradesh, Ramesh step­ped up his tirade against Maya­wati’s regime over irregularities in implementation of MG­N­REGS in October last year.

Ramesh’s letter to Maya­wati on October 24 last seeking her consent for probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into alleged irregularities in MGNREGS implementation evoked strong reaction from the BSP supremo.

Mayawati had sent a reply to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh directly, rubbishing the Union Rural Development Minister’s allegations.

She had termed Ramesh’s letter as politically motivated and accused Ramesh of pursuing a ‘pre-conceived’ agenda.

The Union Minister retaliated with a 14-page letter dated November 14, which contained specific instances of irregularities in the MGNREGS implementation in as many as seven districts – Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Kushinagar, Mirzapur and Sant Kabir Nagar – of the northern State.

It also listed instances of inaction by the State Government to curb corruption or initiate proceedings against errant officials. The Congress has since been highlighting the MGNREGS sca­ms in its campaign against May­a­wati’s Government .

The party, which leads the ruling UPA at the Centre, is also likely to cash in on the wrongdoings in MGNREGS implementation in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to step up its campaign against BJP Governments in Bhopal and Raipur, led by Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Raman Singh.

The Congress leaders in both the States have of late highlighted the MGNREGS scams in their campaigns against the BJP Governments.

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