BHUBANESWAR: The Opposition BJP on Monday launched a fresh attack on the State government over alleged corruption and embezzlement of funds under the flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
Alleging massive irregularities in the implementation of MGNREGS works and billing false labour charges across the State during the Covid-19 pandemic, BJP State general secretary Prithiviraj Harichandan said more than 40 per cent of the expenditure shown in records is misappropriated by producing false bills.
Though the objective of the scheme is to provide employment to the poor, works worth hundreds of crores were executed through contractors using machines and well-off people were beneficiaries of the scheme, he alleged. Pointing out that six family members of woman sarpanch of Kuspangi panchayat under Dampara block of Banki sub-division are job-card holders and lakhs of rupees were paid to them as wages, Harichandan told reporters that her husband, who is president of Biju Yuva Janata Dal of Dampara block, is a job card holder and received daily wage of Rs 215 under the scheme.
He further alleged that the father-in-law of the sarpanch, a PDS dealer, has two buildings and her mother-in-law is the owner of three cars. Most of the members of the joint family have made foreign trips. The State government had last year announced to dig up around 1.3 lakh ponds across the State under the MGNREGS.
The BJP leader further alleged that more than Rs 30 lakh has been billed without constructing bunds and digging ponds in three blocks of Ganjam district. One bund estimated at Rs 5.45 lakh at Bharatpur panchayat in Buguda block has been shown as completed and the money has been gobbled up. Two more works, one in Polasara block with an estimated cost of Rs 10 lakh and another in Khallikote block with a cost of Rs 15 lakh, are yet to start but the entire bill has been cleared by the block officers concerned.