The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Minister admits to rural job mistakes

Bhubaneswar, Sept. 17: Union rural development minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh today admitted that allegations of irregularities in the implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme have been received almost from all states.

“The scheme is implemented at gram panchayat level. So, it’s quite natural that there are allegations of irregularities in some panchayats or others,” Singh said here this evening.

An inquiry is being done by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India into the allegations of irregularities in 69 districts across the country, he added.

The Union minister, who was here to address the meeting of regional performance review committee relating to nine states, including Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Bengal, said he had directed the CAG to conduct a special probe into alleged irregularities in implementation of NREGS in six backward districts of Orissa.

“We have asked the CAG to inquire into the allegations and submit the report by the end of October,” he said.

Singh said he had written to the Orissa chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, requesting him to find the veracity of the alleged irregularities mentioned in a survey of New Delhi-based NGO, Centre for Environment and Food Security.

The chief minister had written back saying that the inquiry was already underway.

The survey, which had covered 100 villages in six districts belonging to most backward KBK region of Orissa, had alleged that wage employment was not being provided to job seekers and payment was not being made to labourers even after work was over.

“Non-payment of wages after the work is a crime and stringent action will be taken against the erring officials,” said Singh.

Meanwhile, the state government has requested the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Rural Development to conduct a survey to verify the veracity of allegation and study the impact of implementation of the scheme.

NREGS is being implemented in 254 blocks under 24 districts across the state.

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