DHENKANAL: Several labourers in the district alleged that they were being deprived of payment for their engagement under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Following such allegations, the district administration informed Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and State Bankers’ forum and other concerned authorities about the matter, sources said. Labourers in several blocks of the district alleged that a private bank was making irregular or delayed payments to them.
The newly-appointed DRDA project director Narrottam Behera was also informed about the matter by officials. At some places, the villagers alleged that middlemen were getting involved in the payment process and playing foul.
According to reports, the district administration had closed accounts of as many as 1,000 beneficiaries and blocked about 57 accounts initially on the basis of allegations. “To prevent irregularities and bungling of funds by third party, we have issued instructions to Gram Rozagar Sevak (GRS) to open accounts of enrolled labourers in any nationalised bank in the interests of labourers, excluding the defaulting private bank,” the DRDA project director said, adding this was going on as per the instruction of authorities. “The Collector is being informed about the closure of the accounts on regular basis,” he said.
Contacted, Bhuban BDO Basant Majhi said accounts of beneficiaries were being closed in the private bank due to certain inconveniences and difficulties faced during payment. Behera admitted that the administration had issued instructions to all GRS to open accounts of enrolled labourers, who had given consent to close their accounts in the private bank, in other nationalised banks. Meanwhile, labourers demanded their payment uninterruptedly. Collector Nikhil Pawan Kalyan said after a thorough probe, accounts of the beneficiaries are being transferred to nationalised banks.