Large scale misuse of funds unearthed in Panjikallu GP

Large scale misuse of funds unearthed in Panjikallu GP

Ombudsman orders recovery of money

In connection with the alleged misappropriation of funds under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Panjikallu Gram Panchayat of Bantwal taluk, the Ombudsman has conducted a detailed inquiry into the incident and ordered for the recovery Rs 81,912, of which, the violators have already deposited Rs 8,500 to the MGNREGS account.

It was ‘Brashtachara mathu Daurjanya Virodhi Samithi’ convenor Sudarshan who filed a complaint with the Ombudsman on the misappropriation funds under MGNREGS.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Sudarshan said those labourers who worked honestly were not paid. “In fact, those who were working in Mumbai and Mangalore were in the list of labourers under MGNREGS and payment was made in bogus names.”

He alleged that out of an action plan of Rs 47.5 lakh that was approved for the year 2011-11 under the said scheme, not more than Rs five lakh had been properly spent. He alleged that the gram panchayat authorities were sending back people who had sought facility under the scheme by giving lame excuses.

The inquiry revealed that of the 11 works taken up under MGNREGS, there was violation of rules of MGNREGA in eight works. The work on a compound wall for a public well and a bhajan mandir was taken up in the Gram Panchayat limits, which was clear violation of MGNREGA as such works were not allowed under the scheme. The probe found that, the wages for the work taken up under MGNREGS was drawn from banks in Mangalore and Belthangady TMC limits.

In reality, it should have been drawn from the banks which were situated in nearby areas.

At the same time, the Gram Panchayat authorities should keep a record of photos of development work taken up under MGNREGS in three phases. However, here the authorities were not in a position to show the photos.

Of the 11 works, as many as eight works were taken up during second week of March. At the same time, the work order was given on the day application was submitted seeking work under MGNREGS, the enquiry revealed.

In another case, the work on Ammai road was done by the NSS volunteers of SDM College.

However, the authorities have claimed money for the same road work. Though the MGNREGA rules clearly state that no contractor should be used, here in Panjikallu, the use of contractors have been found during the inquiry.

Though the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) demands and makes installation of information boards or ‘Dynamic Boards’ mandatory, the Gram Panchayat has also failed in installing dynamic boards. At the same time, one government employee at BCM hostel and a Anganwadi Assistant was also given wages. The amount has been recovered and deposited in the MGNREGS account.

The money to be recovered for the works include— mud road at Acharipalke—Rs 2,250, compound wall to Daddalakad bhajan mandir—Rs 22,162, retaining wall—Rs 4,125, mud road at Guthinabali—Rs 4,500, Amai road—Rs 4,375, compound wall to a public well—Rs 33,125, development of land belonging to Balappa Naik—Rs 4,500. Employment was given to a family from Bantwal TMC limits, which was violation. About 57 persons were given the wages without actually working under MGNREGS.

Bantwal Taluk Panchayat EO Vasantraj Shetty said that notices have been issued to the concerned to recover the amount within 15 days. If they fail to recover, action would be initiated against them.

Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said that he has ordered for the recovery of the misappropriated amount and departmental inquiry against PDO and departments concerned, after it was found that funds were misappropriated.

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