This is the latest case of siphoning of the public fund under the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act(MNREGA)’s scheme in Jharkhand.
The case was brought to light and front paged today by Prabhat Khabar,a credible and leading Hindi Daily published simultaneously from ten cities in Eastern India including Ranchi and Jamshedpur,Jharkhand;Patna,Bihar and Kolkata,West Bengal.
“Four saplings planted out of Rs five crore”,screams Shakeel’s story exposing MNREGA’s short coming causing corruption and turning the labour productionless harming Jitendra Pal Singh of Ludhiana,Punjab.”We are ruined.We are not getting any labour.We have stopped cultivating rice in lour field”,he fumes.
Back at his home in Sahebgunj,Jharkhand,he,instead of slogging and participating constructively and be productive,the MNREGA worker,happily received his daily wage sitting right at home.So perhaps he had the magnanimity to part with 40 percent of his wage to all those who had made it available to him.Next?
The ill gotten money was used to eat,drink and be merry.So perhaps,instead of going to the field to work in brick klins in West Bengal,Sukramanjhi loved to gulp lots of country made liquor,smoke Wills Flak and eat Chowmein back in his village.
In the past,he often had to be content with Haria(rice beer),Pakhal(boiled rice fermented with water) and Beedi.A sea change nevertheless.But how terribly harmful was this transformation in the life of the MNREGA worker was evident in creation of Black Money at ground zero .
With the sixty percent :Rs 72 out of total Rs 120 he got as his daily wage,he could afford to buy other products such as spurious shampoo,shop,tooth brush and chowmein of local brands.
The rest Rs 22 was systematically misappropriated by one organically knit gang of MNREGA bureaucracy comprising Deputy Development Commissioner, BDO,Forest Ranger,and Panchayat Sevak,village representative.They maintained accounts,withdrew and spent the fund under MNREGs schemes and shared their own cuts and commissions based on a democratic principle-Each According to His Due.
Records and pictutres in possession of www.JharkhandStateNews.com indicate emregence of a number of new social phenomena not seen before MNREGA was launched in 2005 with an aim to vest the worker with a right to demand job,do job and contribute to end poverty,unemployment and turn the barren fields green in the forest.
*The upper level of MNREGA bureaucracy headed by Rural Development Department’s BDO,Forest Department’s Ranger in Sahebgunj moved around separately in the town,each by his own private driver driven Maruti Sujuki’s ace and luxurious car -SX 4 carrying a price tag of more than Rs eight lakh, even though their salary was less than Rs 50,000 thousand per month.
,*Its lower rung headed by Panchayat Sevak who actually signed the roster forwarded by village representative,facilitating the treasury/post office/banks to release the wage to the worker,proudly owned two cars each-Alto and Mahindra’s Scorpio.
*Documents show during 2011-02,when Ravi Kumar was Deputy Commissioner of Sahebgung,yet to be identified Deputy Development Commisioner allocated nearly Rs five crore for plantation of Tasar saplings in a barren field under its own jurisdiction.
*Later,when,directed by the state Rural Development Secretary,Divisional Commissioner,Kumar’s immediate Boss inspected the same field,he found there were only four Tasar plants,each growing with green leaves.Did these four plants cost Rs 5 crore ?
If the answer is in the nagative,the question is what was the method used by this gang to siphon off the MNREGA fund and what happened to the rest Tasar plants worth Rs 5 crore?
All plants,except four alive and growing in Sahebgunj,had died,according the official records furnished by Divsional Commissioner ‘s report,quoted by Shakeel.
In any case,Sahebgunj Deputy Commissioner Kumar was not responsible for the crime-death of these plants.In response to a querry,Kumar said:”The scheme was executed by the forest department”.