Dead man, retd headmaster 'claim' funds under MGNREGS

Dead man, retd headmaster 'claim' funds under MGNREGS

The irregularities in the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Dakshina Kannada has once again come to the fore with a complaint filed by one Gilbert D’Silva of Mooduperar village in Mangalore taluk, to the MGNREGS Ombudsman.

Prima facie investigations reveal that there are financial anomalies in the flagship rural job scheme, said the Ombudsman.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Gilbert D’Silva alleged thta funds have been withdrawn by creating false documents, stating that 91 labourers were involved in constructing a retaining wall beside a stream near the field of Harish Shetty Mundabettu in Mooduperar village in the month of December.
“However, none of the 91 labourers have actually worked.”

He said the work was taken up during April 2011 and labourers Parvathi, Lalitha, Gulabi and Devappa Gowda worked for three days, Varija—one day, Madhava Janardhan—one week, a man from Ekkar —one week and JCB—one day to complete the work. In fact, neighbours Devika Rai and Prabhakar Alva have paid Rs 6,000 each while Harish Shetty, Mahabala Shetty and Savitha Shetty have paid Rs 5,000 each to get the work done, he alleged. 

The authorities have created false documents to prove that the work was carried out from December 2 to December 16, 2011. In reality, the work was carried out during April itself.
In the complaint, he said that one Edwin Lobo who died 25 years ago was given Rs 1,875 as wages for taking up the work on retaining wall. There are asthama patients, private company employees, crorepathis, retired headmaster, 88-year-old Patel of the village, students and rickshaw drivers have also worked for the retaining wall, as per the records of the Gram Panchayat. A person who is working in Mumbai was also shown as a labourer by the Gram Panchayat. Of the 91 labourers, 90 were paid Rs 1,875 and one person was paid Rs 125. In the complaint, he has urged the Ombudsman to probe into the incident immediately.

“Those who were involved in misapprpriation have threatened me. However, I will not heed to their threats. I want a thorough probe into the incident and bring the truth to light,” he said.

As per the records, the work on the retaining wall was carried out at the cost of Rs 2.14 lakh using 1,315 human working days. The work was supervised by Panchayat Raj Engineering division.

“I have been seeking facility under MGNREGS to construct bunds or check dams since 2006. However, my demand for generating employment through the construction of bunds or check dams were denied from the beginning,” he said. 

Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said the inquiry team has started inquiry into the anomalies and have found misappropriation at the outset.”

Officials visit GP
A team led by Ombudsman, Technical officer Sanjeeva Naik and NGO representative Krishna Moolya visited the Gram Panchayat on Friday.

In the meantime, Panchayat Development Officer Madhava Amin said that the construction of retaining wall has helped the people of the region. The work was completed using the MGNREGS labourers and no machines were used.