IPAK cries foul over implementation of MGNREGS

The Indigenous People's Association of Kangleipak (IPAK) also alleged that the MGNREGS undertaken by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RD and PR) department has become a source of income and benefitted few selected individuals.

 

The Indigenous People's Association of Kangleipak (IPAK) on Saturday alleged that there are many irregularities on the part of the implementing agents in connection with the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Manipur.

IPAK also alleged that the MGNREGS undertaken by the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RD and PR) department has become a source of income and benefitted few selected individuals. Though the individuals concerned and the department had already been intimated about the issue earlier, no stringent measures have been initiated except the order they issued that necessary actions would be taken up.

In a release issued by its secretary general, L Romen Meetei on Saturday, IPAK stated that the minister of RD and PR and the department should publicly declare the steps it has initiated regarding the discrepancies and irregularities in implementation of MGNREGS since the minister had earlier assured that anyone found doing wrong deliberately will not be spared and action will be taken..

The release stated that panchayat members, Pradhan, Zila parishad, concerned departments as well as MLAs have not been able to stop the irregularities in proper implementation of the scheme in many parts of the state.

IPAK also demanded that Vigilance and Anti Corruption department should be made fully functional in all the districts to look after issues regarding misappropriation of funds or irregularities in implementation of government schemes.

The release also stated that IPAK has an apprehension whether the elected persons and officials of the department have allegedly conspired together regarding the issue.

There are also reports where machines are used to perform the work instead of employing the public after which the daily wages of the public are deducted from their accounts. IPAK has received complaints from the public that the panchayat members, zilla parishad and workers of concerned MLAs have tried to convince the people to execute the works by using machines.

Such a situation has led to misunderstandings and conflicts between the general public and the people who are in favour of using machines to execute the work. The number of working days is also reportedly reduced from the total number of working days, after which the wages for the non working days are collected by few individuals for their own benefits, it stated.

The department concerned should declare to the public if it is in no position to listen and solve the complaints raised by the public, the release added.

The state government must first focus on bringing welfare for the public as well as to develop the economy of the state. Besides MGNREGS, the state government should also make sure that funds for all the schemes and developmental works for the welfare of the people are properly utilised.

Any individual taking bribe in the name of IPAK from Pradhan members will not be spared, it further stated while appealing to the public to utilise social media and media to expose any wrongdoings in any schemes taken up by the government.

As per a report issued by DIPR Manipur on September 1, Minister Biswajit conducted an on the spot enquiry, following reports in social media which claimed about wrong doings in awarding working days to job card holders under MGNREGA at Konthoujam Gram Panchayat.

The minister was acting on the video posted in social media by a woman from Konthoujam Makha Leikai Ward No V who claimed that she had to work alone for four working days.

During the on the spot enquiry, the woman conveyed her claims before the minister and officials of the department. She apprised the minister that her ward member informed the job-card holders that since the area is in a containment zone, payments will be made for only 16 of the allotted 20 working days. 

The women also informed the minister that while others seem to be okay with the member’s action, she could not agree with it and told the member that she would like to work for all the 20days since her family had no other means of earning due to the present lockdown.

After listening to the claims made by the women, the minister gave a strong instruction to all officials concerned accompanying him to look into the matter on the spot. During the enquiry, officials corroborated the woman’s statement with documents and found that all other job-carders holders had given their signature to an agreement with the member to work for only 16 of the 20 days, whereas the woman alone had decided to work for all allotted 20 days.

Further, it came to light that the consigned GRS had also failed to take signatures of the job-card holders for the works executed earlier. 

Following the official findings, the minister announced action against the officials concerned and to conduct a more detailed enquiry into the incident. He said that anyone found doing wrong deliberately will not be spared and action will be taken at the earliest. 

Speaking on the sidelines of the inspection, the minister said that it is unfortunate that such an incident has occurred at a time when the government is trying to enhance rural livelihood during the lockdown through proper implementation of the scheme in the state.

 Biswajit further urged all to ensure that such unwanted incidents are not repeated in the future and that all concerned work in unity to enhance rural livelihood through the scheme. The Centre under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been showing concern and encouragement for job-card holders to overcome the hardships faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The minister further urged the local youth clubs and meira paibis to continue cooperating and supporting the authorities in the proper implementation of the scheme and to highlight any grievances to the authorities through the official toll free number.

He said that the habit of sharing payments between the authorities and job-cardholders without executing actual work should be stopped at once.

First Published:Sept. 5, 2020, 11:12 p.m.