Jammu: Addressing a press conference here today, Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman while hailing the Chief Minister for sacking Haq Khan as Rural Development Minister, sought to know the reasons for shielding the top corrupt officers of the RDD who had been booked by the vigilance in fraud cases with FIRs registered against them.
The six top officers including two directors, three ACDs and one DPO who were accused of multi crore scam had been denied bail by the Anti corruption court but were still enjoying immunity from arrest, said a dismayed Harsh. Not only that they continued to enjoy plum postings with some of them having been awarded with more suitable postings by the erstwhile RDD Minister before his ouster, rued Harsh. Does the government not owe an explanation to the people for the immunity given to the corrupt by it in the state?, Singh questioned. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today.
Harsh Dev Singh said that his experiences after his tours of the various rural areas had shown that the funds under the MG-NREGA scheme were being siphoned off by unscrupulous officials in connivance with certain vested interests.
He said that the flagrant violation of GOI stipulated norms in identification and execution of works, large scale variations in labour-material ratio, purchase scams, extremely poor quality works, payments to fake Job card holders, fictitious bills, inflated billing for materials used, withdrawal of payments for non-existent works, diversion of funds, non provision of employment to genuine job card holders etc were the general complaints of the public in almost all the rural areas.
He said that the rural folk almost unanimously complained everywhere that no notice was taken by the authorities concerned regarding the omissions and commissions in MG-NREGA, IWMP, CD and Panchayats besides other funds placed at the disposal of RDD.
Singh regretted that even the complaints filed by him with helmsmen regarding the blatant violations and other irregularities in MG-NREGA in District Udhampur particularly the Blocks of Ramnagar, Majalta, Khoon, Basantgarh, Ghordi, Kulwanta and Chanunta on the basis of feedback received from the ground, had failed to elicit any response from concerned quarters.
He said that in view of well knit mafias in the Rural Development Deptt., the funds meant for the poor, needy and rural unemployed were being swindled thereby defeating the very purpose of the scheme. He regretted that the state govt too could not be absolved of its criminal vicarious liability as the in-explicable delay in apprehending fraudsters had allowed the corrupt and unscrupulous elements to siphon the funds envisaged for empowerment of rural poor.
Seeking immediate action against the corrupt, Singh cautioned that any further delay would invite strong public reaction with Panthers Party holding protests outside offices of various RDD officers including the Ministers concerned. Calling for exemplary measures against the accused, Singh said that stringent punitive action against the offenders under would further serve as a deterrent upon the corrupt and dishonest functionaries of the Rural Development Deptt. He appealed the Chief Minister and Union RD Minister to take due cognizance of the MG-NREGA frauds and further ensure the early empowerment of the much delayed monitoring and Evaluation Authority on the lines of Lok Pal as envisaged under the Act. Parshotam Parihar State Secretary Panthers Trade Union was also present in the press conference.