The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State cheques bounce, tribals taken aback

Giridih, Aug. 19: On a day when the leaders of various political parties put their weight behind the bandh on Tuesday called for the “welfare” of tribals, 27 such villagers were virtually cheated by the government.

For Ganesh Hansda, Chandrani Manjhi and 25 others, a cheque of Rs 12,500 each was a hefty amount to build houses under Deen Dayal Awas Yojana before rains lashed their Dokayya village in Purnidih panchayat last month.

But what happened to their first instalment cheques — drawn in the Saria branch of Grameen Bank — was surprising, as neither of them — who have account in the co-operative bank — could encash a single cheque as there was not a penny in the particular account of the Bagoder block development officer.

“Recently, the co-operative bank manager returned the cheques to all saying that there was no money in the account,” said Sanjay Modi, a Congress leader.

The matter was reported by the tribals to Modi, who along with two tribal beneficiaries Ganesh Hansda and Chandrani Manjhi today reached to meet deputy commissioner Birendra Ram who was out of station. Later, Modi met deputy development commissioner Gauri Shankar Minz.

“Where would we go when the government officials cheat us,” asked Somar Manjhi, another beneficiary who got the allocation in his wife’s name under the scheme being being implemented by the Jharkhand District Housing Board.

Grameen Bank manager Dilip Kumar accepted that the cheques were bounced but he refused to divulge more. Bagoder block development officer Sudhir Kumar was unperturbed: “If there was no funds in the account, I would transfer it.”

Bagoder MLA Vinod Singh said: “Action should be taken against the block development officer as why he had issued cheques when there was no amount in the account. First, the tribals should be given their share of funds.”

Ram was not available for comment but Minz said: “After getting the information I had showcaused the block development officer to clear his stand on the issue.”

“If there was no technical problem and the matter took place only because of carelessness, we would take strict action,” he said.

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