Andhra Pradesh: 5 Panchayat secretaries suspended in connection with the Swachh Bharat Mission fund misappropriation

Axe also falls on RWS assistant engineer;showcause notice served on Eluru MPDO

ELURU: District Collector K Bhaskar has suspended an Assistant Executive Engineer of Rural Water Supply Department and  five panchayat secretaries in connection with misappropriation of Swachh Bharat Mission funds in construction of individual toilets in Venkatapuram of Eluru mandal.

The Collector on Sunday also wrote a letter to the Panchayat Raj Commissioner for suspension of a woman secretary who worked in Venkatapuram earlier in connection with the Swachh Bharat Mission fund misappropriation. He also issued showcause notices to an RWS Assistant Engineer and Eluru MPDO Prakasha Rao. K Lakshmi who was transferred to Krishna district, has also faced action. The cheque power of village sarpanch Deepti Usha was suspended. She was asked to give reply within a week pertaining to the irregularities in construction of toilets in Venkatapuram.   
It may be recalled here that The New Indian Express had exposed the irregularities in construction of toilets in Venkatapuram under the Swachh Bharat. It was alleged that many individual toilets were sanctioned for the non-eligible beneficiaries.

The irregularities in implementation of the Swachh Bharat Mission came to light when Matrapu Lokeswara Rao of Venkatapuram panchayat filed a writ petition in the High Court. Responding to the petition, the High Court directed the District Collector to submit a report within one month after probing the irregularities in implementation of the Swachh Bharat in Venkatapuram. The RWS Executive Engineer was asked to conduct the inquiry. After getting the inquiry report, the Collector submitted  it to the High Court on August 21.

As many as 1,955 toilets had been sanctioned for Venkatapuram panchayat by MPDO Prakash Rao under Swachh Bharat since October 2014. The panchayat with a total population of 45,829, has 19 habitations. It was revealed that `26,88,000 was paid to ineligible beneficiaries pertaining to 180 toilets out of the total 1,955. As per the report of the DPO, `98,09,066 was not accounted. Six panchayat secretaries worked in the village from 2013-14 to 2016-17.

Express Impact

The errant officials
The suspended officials include RWS AEE Siva- ramakrishna, panchayat secretaries
N Snehalatha, M Srinivasa Rao,K Nagendra,D Vinod and N Ravikumar.K Lakshmi, another secretary, also faces action

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