230 special teams probed MNREGA graft in states

Many non-government organizations and individuals have complained of bunglings in several states in implementation of the program.

New Delhi: Taking note of rising cases of financial irregularities in several works done under its flagship rural employment scheme MNREGA, the Centre has sent more than 230 special investigation teams to various states in the past five years to probe them.

Out of the total of 236, 92 teams of National level Monitors (NLMs) were sent to Uttar Pradesh followed by 55 to Madhya Pradesh and 21 to Bihar between 2006 and March 2011,
the Ministry of Rural Development, which acts as a nodal agency in implementing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme, said.

According to the information received in response to an RTI query filed by a news agency, 17 teams were sent to Gujarat, seven to Orissa and five each to Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh to investigate and report cases of alleged discrepancies in various parts of the states.

The reports were either not submitted or awaiting action in all the cases, it said.

Besides, 10 other cases of gross irregularities were handed over to the CBI between 2010-11 to further investigate graft cases in over 100 villages of Orissa, UP, MP, Jharkhand and Rajasthan among others.

The MoRD had also recommended CBI probe in the murder of two RTI activists - Niyamat Ansari of Latehar district and Subal Mahto of Jharkhand this year.

"The state of Jharkhand has been requested to issue notification under Section 6 of the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 consenting for extension of jurisdiction of CBI to areas in the state for investigation of offences relating to MNREGA," the Ministry said in reply to the RTI.

The Rural Development Ministry had sent 85 teams of NLMs in 2010-11, 63 in 2008-09, 42 in 2009-10, 28 in 2007-08, 10 in 2011-12 and eight in 2006-07.

MNREGA was launched in 2005 to guarantee employment of minimum 100 days to people living below the poverty line.

According to the RTI reply, three teams of NLMs were sent to Punjab, two each to Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal and one each to Nagaland, Maharashtra, HP, Kerala and J-K.

The national level monitors are sent to check complaints of irregularities in the implementation of scheme, which are serious in nature and are expected to submit their findings within two months.

Many non-government organizations and individuals have complained of bunglings in several states in implementation of the program.

As per the norms, the investigation of MNREGA graft rest with the concerned State governments. However, the Ministry decides to send its special teams in cases, where it suspects large scale corruption.

Giving details of status of pending CBI probe in Bundelkhand region of UP, Dholpur (Rajasthan), Shahdol and Badwani districts of MP, Gulbanga and Tumkur districts of
Jharkhand for alleged MNREGA graft, it said that, "their (concerned states) views have been received on April 21, 2011 and the same are under process."

The CBI investigation has been ordered on April 4 this year in irregularities in the implementation of the programme in 100 villages spread over six districts of Orissa as per
Supreme Court`s directive, it added.


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