Hyderabad: Opposition parties in Andhra
Pradesh on Friday alleged that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural
Employment Guarantee Programme has become a "golden goose" for
the ruling Congress party and demanded constitution of a House
Committee to probe the irregularities in the implementation of
the Central scheme.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party stalled
proceedings of the Assembly today demanding constitution of a
House Committee even as the government found itself cornered
on the issue.
The issue came up for discussion during Question Hour
wherein the government admitted that a sum of Rs 120.64 crore
was found to have been "deviated" of which Rs 48.21 crore was
TDP senior legislator Ravula Chandrasekhara Reddy, who
raised the MGNREGP issue, said there were high expectations
over the scheme but the system actually collapsed. "There is a
lot of confusion at the lower level due to too many orders
(related to implementation) while there is duplication due to
involvement of non-governmental organisations. What is the
NGOs` accountability," Ravula questioned.
Another senior MLA Payyavula Keshav said the ombudsman to
monitor MGNREGP works was totally diluted even as Congress
rank and file from top to bottom was "looting" the job funds.
E Dayakar Rao suggested setting up a vigilance wing in each
district for close monitoring of job works as the so-called
social audit has become bogus.
Lok Satta Party legislator N Jayaprakash Narayan, who was
part of the National Advisory Council that drafted the NREG
Act, said creation of "physical visible assets" was most
important under the scheme rather than the amount spent.
"Spending more funds on watershed schemes is mandatory
under NREGP but that`s not happening," Narayan pointed out.
CPI floor leader G Mallesh, CPM`s J Ranga Reddy, BJP
member E Lakshmi Narayana and TDP MLA Devineni Umamaheswara
Rao found fault with the government over allocation of works,
particularly roads, on a nomination basis.
"Congress leaders with the help of field assistants were
pocketing all the funds," Umamaheswara Rao alleged, and
demanded that all such works given on nomination be cancelled.
Rural Development Minister Dokka Manikya Varaprasad,
however, maintained that 18,000 minor irrigation tanks were
developed with NREGP funds while nine lakh acres of land was
"No works have been given to NGOs but we are using their
services. We will not tolerate corruption and hence we have
enacted a legislation to check misappropriation of NREGP
funds," the minister said.
The Opposition, however, remained firm on its demand for
constitution of a House Committee to probe the irregularities
in NREGP but the government did not budge. The TDP members
rushed to the Speaker`s podium and stalled the proceedings
following which Speaker Nadendla Manohar adjourned the House
for 15 minutes.