New Delhi: Accusing Mayawati Government of
not taking adequate action against those allegedly involved in
embezzling MGNREGA funds, Rural Development Minister Jairam
Ramesh has dared the UP Chief Minister to recommend a CBI
probe into its implementation if she had nothing to hide.
In a hard-hitting letter to the Chief Minister of the
poll-bound state, Ramesh alleged that the Mayawati Government
"has not been taking any worthwhile action" on the findings
and recommendations of National Level Monitors (NLMs)
appointed by his Ministry and State Quality Monitor (SQM) in
relation to implementation of MGNREGA.
"...If the state government has nothing to hide and has a
clear conscience, it should have no objection to our request
to have a thorough CBI inquiry conducted into MGNREGA
implementation in some districts of the state based on the
findings the NLMs and SQMs and the various media reports that
have apppeared," the Minister said.
Ramesh said he was looking forward to hearing from
Mayawati and her "concurrence for an urgent CBI probe" into
the implementation of MGNREGRA in Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba,
Sonbhadra, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mirzapur and Kushinagar
Pressing further, Ramesh said, "The need for such a CBI
probe is urgent since the labour budget under MGNREGA has
exceeded Rs 5000 crore in 2011/12 in UP which, incidentally,
has all been borne by the Central Government".
"The criminal conspiracies in these districts to defraud
the central and state government appear to be as scandalous as
what has been the case with the National Rural Health Mission
in the state which is the subject of an ongoing CBI
investigation," he said in the letter dated October 24.
Alleging that the implementation of MGNREGA in Uttar
Pradesh has been "far from satisfactory", Ramesh said many
"serious and brazen" violations and cases of "deliberate
embezzlement of funds" have been coming to the notice of the
Rural Development Ministry from time to time.
He pointed out that 22 National Level Monitors` reports,
which pointed out grave irregularities, have been pending for
action with the state government for months together.
"I find that findings of the State Quality Monitor
himself in relation to the implementation of MGNREGA in the
four districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Kushinagar and Sant
Kabeernagar have been ignored," the Minister said.
"No action has been taken on the recommendations
regarding the probing disproportionate asset or criminal
liability of officials. Some officials appear to have been
suspended but there has been no action on the many other
recommendations made by this impartial inquiry conducted by
an officer well known for his integrity," he said.
Coming down heavily on the Mayawati Government, Ramesh
alleged that the signal that has gone out by the "state
government`s continuing inaction is clear-- make money openly,
flout all rules and procedures bluntly and nothing will happen
to you if you have the patronage of the ruling establishment."
The Minister said that his Ministry has the option of
stopping funds to Uttar Pradesh, either wholly or partially,
for MGNREGA till "credible action" has been taken by the state
government on the reports submitted by the NLMs and SQMs.
"But this would amount to penalising the poor people of
the state for crimes committed by officials at various levels
and their political patrons," Ramesh said.