IPAK demands probe into MGNREGS irregularities

IMPHAL, 6th May: Indigenous People’s Association of Kangleipak (IPAK) president Ksh Somorendro has urged the people to contact the authorities through social media if any illegal collection drive related to MGNREGS is being carried out in their respective localities.
He also asked the government authorities to launch investigation into complaints of gross irregularities in payment of wages, opening bank accounts of project beneficiaries and instances of elected members of local bodies duping and intimidating job card holders.
Addressing the media on Wednesday, Somorendro said that as per the Social Information Report gathered by IPAK over the controversies surrounding MGNREGS in the state, some ‘mafias/gangs’ were found misusing the personal bank accounts of innocent civilians for their self-interest. Further analysis of the information/complaints from the hills and the valley, which were provided to IPAK, found that either excess money were being deposited in the bank accounts of MGNREGS beneficiaries or redundant compensation being paid for non-availability of work. Amid this, many job cards were found cancelled, while other job cardholders were threatened with non-payment of wages.
Questioning why excess money was being deposited in the bank accounts, Somorendro accused Pradhans, members and certain groups of people for misusing the bank accounts of the job cardholders and causing them unnecessary grief.
“The state government should not take this situation lightly”, he contended.
Recalling that multiple requests were made each to the Chief Minister, the minister concerned, additional chief secretary and director of RD&PR in writing to look into the matter; Somorendro said that the RD&PR minister has assured to take up appropriate action in the media. However, the efforts being made till date is unsatisfactory and would only lead to loss of evidence.
“It has been observed that efforts are being made to exclude the police, CID, vigilance and anti-corruption for the investigation, despite being under the close watch of the District and executive magistrates. Complaints of illegal collection drives being made to IPAK are increasing on a daily basis”, he conveyed. According to the complainants, many were shocked to discover that some Zilla Parishads, Pradhans and members had opened bank accounts in their (complainants) names without their knowledge. This is a matter of grave concern, as evidences have been found of bank staffers colluding with the aforementioned to collect the excess MGNREGS money from the job card holders. As such, the state government should thoroughly look into the matter, the president said, while remarking the ongoing investigation process is giving more leeway to the criminals.
Somorendro further urged the state government to verify the details of the job card holders within a specified time along with the complaints and surveys gathered by the official team of IPAK. He also urged Block officials to work with members, Pradhans and ZPs to facilitate the real job cardholders and cancel the ‘lazy’ ones.
In addition, a Gram Sabha should be convened wherein the block officials and district engineers could verify and pass the MGNREGS work. The BDOs, DPCs and Bank officials should conduct timely checks and provided updated reports of the job cardholders in specified time. The DCs and BDOs must also issue orders to members, Pradhans, ZPs and others concerned to release the bank passbooks of Job card holders at the earliest, while following up on the same as well.
“Action should be initiated against those who failed to comply with the orders”, he asserted, while demanding for release of the MGNREGS 2020-21 fund.
Furthermore, a committee consisting of the District Magistrate, vigilance and anti corruption department and CID, along with SPs of Manipur Police and officials of RD&PR Directorate should be formed to investigate the matter. Strict action legal should be taken up against the erring persons as per the law of the law, while an inquiry should be conducted on suspected bank managers and staffers and action should be initiated.
Similar strict actions should also be taken up against the computer centres and CSCs who are serving as agents of PayNearby and Spice Money, and involved in illegally collecting huge amounts of money from the people using Biometric thump scanner. Action should also be initiated against the suspected MLAs, ZPs, Pradhans and members, apart from pulling up the department concerned, Somorendro demanded, while urging the state government to translate all of IPAK’s demands into action as soon as possible.

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