The Telegraph
Tuesday , June 17 , 2014
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Lapses in job scheme

Ranchi, June 16: Rural development minister K.N. Tripathy admitted that one of the reasons behind migration of labourers from Jharkhand was its poor execution of MGNREGA projects and blamed a few districts for not paying heed to his instructions to initiate correctives.

Tripathy said that against a budgetary provision of Rs 1,650 crore for the current fiscal, barely Rs 200 crore had been used so far.

“Soon after Gopinath Munde assumed office, I had a meeting with him and approved schemes involving expenses to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore. But deputy commissioners of certain districts are sitting over these proposals,” he told The Telegraph, adding he would now initiate action against them.

While the minister did not name the officers, sources in his department revealed that he was particularly upset with Koderma, Godda, Khunti and Sahebganj districts.

During the last fiscal, a budgetary provision of Rs 2,000 crore was available for MGNREGA works. However, barely Rs 800 crore was utilised at the end of the financial year.

Subsequently, the Centre cut the Plan size to Rs 1,650 crore for the current fiscal, but indicated it wasn’t averse to revising the budgetary provisions provided there were positive outcomes in the state.

“This fiscal we made a slow start also because the model code of conduct for the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections remained in force till May 16. Further, I took charge (as minister) only on February 21, by when ground level preparations for the elections had gained momentum. But, I have directed officials to ensure that at least Rs 1,000 crore is utilised by October end,” the minister said.

Tripathy, who also handles rural development, panchayati raj and labour departments, said the labour department had recently set up special camps in various parts of the state to find on-the-spot solutions to people’s problems.

“Plugging migration of labourers in an economically backward state like Jharkhand is really a very difficult job. But, we are doing our best. It is also true that a section of officials are not taking us very seriously because the next Assembly elections are due by the end of the year. But, I mean business. I know the law of land. Laxity on the part of officials will not be tolerated,” he said.

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