Shillong, Aug. 8: Police have initiated an inquiry into the alleged misappropriation of Rs 26 lakh under the National Rural Employment Scheme (NREGS) by Klip Pale, the headman of Nongjngi-Ionglwit village in Jaintia Hills.
According to the police, Pale, who is also the chairman of the village employment council, had allegedly misappropriated funds worth Rs 26,34,330 according to the complaints by the villagers.
A resident of the village, Proding Niang, had lodged a complaint with Jowai police station, saying Pale had misused the funds under the rural job schme which was released by the block development office in Thadlaskein.
The money was sanctioned by the block for the construction of nine fishery ponds at the cost of around Rs 8 lakh, 16 tubewells for Rs 10 lakh and pavements at the cost of around Rs 8.6 lakh.
The complaint lodged by Niang on July 31 had alleged that most of the names mentioned in the register of the employment council as beneficiaries of the scheme did not tally with that of the job cardholders.
According to Niang, many job cardholders did not receive the payments though the council had maintained that money has already been paid to the cardholders.
The complaint also revealed that fake names had been used by the council to buy raw materials, including sands stones for construction under the rural job schemes.
“We are examining the matter in depth to find out the truth as it is a central scheme and there is a need to maintain transparency in its implementation,” a police official said.
The police had summoned the headman on a few occasions to record his statements and he had also submitted all documents related to the matter to the inquiry officer.
The headman, however, said after the matter was brought to the village durbar, only some villagers had raised the allegations of misappropriation of funds by him and demanded his resignation from the post of headman as well as from the post of chairman of the council.
According to Pale, he has the support of the majority in the village and only a few disgruntled people are against him.
“I have submitted all the relevant documents related to the scheme to the police and it is up to them to investigate the matter,” he said.
The police are studying the relevant clauses in NREGS to understand the manner in which the scheme is being implemented in the district.
In the past, irregularities regarding the NREGS were detected elsewhere in the state but the Meghalaya government had carried out social auditing of the projects after the complaints to ensure transparency.