Dead, infirm draw wages

Maghu Khadia worked in development projects under MGNREGA for 90 days and was paid Rs 11,250. Bala Ping worked for six days and paid Rs 70 as wages. Baldev Bagh toiled for nine days for ` 950 and Sara Bhukta who worked for six days was paid Rs 638. The muster roll for 2011-12 in Babu Niktimal panchayat under Bamra block of Sambalpur district states these facts. What is shocking is that all four persons mentioned in the MGNREGA muster roll for 2011-12 are dead. The much-publicised employment programme reeks of corruption in this village.

While Maghu died in February 2011, Baldev and Sara died in 2006.

A closer look at the register reveals more dirt in the programme. Those medically unfit and persons at the fag end of their life have been reflected in the muster rolls. The muster roll also reflects that differently-abled Gagan Bihari Patel and Binod Patel worked for 90 and 60 days respectively and were paid

Rs 11,250 and Rs 7,500 respectively. An old-age pensioner, Sudasa, has toiled for 36 days to receive Rs 6,500 as per the muster roll.

The irregularities do not stop here. The residents of Babu Niktimal, who had petitioned the Ombudsman, Chief Minister, District Magistrate, Superintendent of Police and the Vigilance over the issue, said even bills have been raised against work which has never been carried out.

They informed that the earth road from Charbhaya-Maltimunda, Dukhu Jharmunda-Mundadhipa, Luhurapada-Kaniabuda, Jurabahal-Mundakata have been partly completed but billed for the entire stretch and the money paid. They said work on Bichutangar-Kandha Balanda, a 3-km stretch, has been reflected twice by reversing the name.

The irregularities are not hidden from the authorities concerned. The? villagers, Nishamani Patel and Pradipta Kumar Patel, who protested were attacked on February 27 and police had registered a case. However, there was no follow up as some officials managed to file a fake and fabricated case registered under the SC/ST Act against Pradipta’s wife Sabitri to silence them, alleged Pradipta.

With lives threatened, the villagers have been making rounds of the office of the Ombudsman and the SP to seek protection but they are yet to get an audience with the officials.


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