JAMMU, May 22: Alleging large scale irregularities, massive bungling and misappropriation of funds in the implementation of MGNREGA scheme in the state, NPP chairman and former minister Harsh Dev Singh sought a high level probe into all expenditures under the scheme by the J&K RDD during the past 3 years.
Addressing press conference here today Singh regretted that in the absence of ombudsman or any other monitoring authority, the huge funding under MGNREGA and IHHL schemes has been plundered with none to take cognizance of the frauds in RDD making headlines in the media every other day. He said that not only the plunder of funds but the RDD officers often declined to provide replies under RTI which had invited the wrath of SIC as well with the latter admonishing the deptt for circumventing the transparency law. Having clandestinely floundered the principles of accountability and transparency, Singh called for a high level probe into the multi-crore scam in the RDD preferably through CBI.
Pointing towards huge pendency of wages and other work done claims of workers and MGNREGA labourers, Singh regretted that the rural poor had been deprived of legitimate benefits envisaged for them under the scheme. He said that it was highly unfortunate that the claims of these poor indigent labouers remained unpaid for the last 2 to 3 years and urged upon the Governor and Advisor to ensure clearance of the liabilities created by reckless officers of the department.
Referring to the vigilance raids in the houses and office premises of some of the officers in the recent past exposing massive scam to the tune of crores in the RDD under MGNREGA scheme, Harsh Dev said that it was only a tip of the ice berg and said that identical exercise needs to be conducted in all other districts of the State particularly Udhampur, Kishtwar, Doda, Ramban, Kathua, Samba in view of hundreds of crores being bungled by unscrupulous elements in collusion with officers and politicians.
NPP leader regretted that no notice was being taken of the brewing resentment amongst the rural masses against non-clearance of MGNREGA liabilities for the last few years besides non-payment of claims under “Open Defecation Free” (ODF) scheme of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) wherein payments in respect of construction of individual household latrines by BPL families had been kept pending for years despite release of all funds by Union Govt.