NREGS fails to contain rural migration in Orissa: CAG

Despite implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the state, rural migration increased in Orissa by 116 per cent as irregularities were galore in many fronts, according to the CAG of India.

Bhubaneswar: Despite implementation of
the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) in the
state, rural migration increased in Orissa by 116 per cent as
irregularities were galore in many fronts, according to the
Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

The rate of rural migration was abnormally high by 483
per cent in Nuapada district while the state average was 116
per cent, CAG said on its report for the year ended on March
31, 2009.
The report which was tabled in the state assembly
today found several lacunae as incidents of manipulation in
mustor rolls, non-payment of unemployment allowance and
others.

"Deceased persons, government employees and old age
persons were shown engaged and received wages," the CAG report
stated adding that 61 per cent beneficiaries were not aware of
their rights and privileges under the scheme.

Use of labour displacing machines was also noticed in
Jajpur, Mayurbhanj and Nayagarh districts, the report said
adding that its inspection in 26 blocks found that 11030 works
were executed at Rs 154.99 crore through contractors/middlemen
in the guise of Village Labour Leaders (VLLs) and department
officials.

Despite spending of Rs 1280.94 crore on road works
under NREGS during 2006-09 under `rural connectivity`
component in the state, 584 roads in nine districts were unfit
for providing all weather connectivity.
This despite `improvement` stated to be made at a cost
of Rs 13.86 crore, the CAG report said.

"Inflated measurements were also noticed," it said
adding that avoidable expenditure of Rs 1.08 crore was
incurred in some blocks due to inflated estimates for cashew
and coffee plantations in Koraput and Nabarangapur districts.

Asking the state government to prepare five year
prospective plan and annual action plan, the CAG said that the
government should enforce strict financial discpline.

It also suggested the state government should take
steps to eliminate middlemen in execution of works and ensure
appropriate and timely payment of wages as per the scheme
guidelines.

PTI