Bandipora, Feb 7: Seemingly a ‘swindling of money’ case has come to the fore from the Block Bandipora of Rural Development Department (RDD) where the officials have withdrawn the amount worth lakhs from scores of ‘bogus’ job cards under the centrally sponsored MGNREGA scheme.
Official sources said that in Block Bandipora’s Watapora Village, some blue-eyed persons in nexus with and Panch, Sarpanchs and officials of the department has withdrawn lakhs of rupees from ‘bogus’ works.
“Instead of providing jobs to the unemployed persons, job cards have been issued to government employees, businessmen, Panchs, Saprpanchs and other well off people,” they said.
Villagers of Watapora Bandipora allege that the officials of Block Development facilitate the making of job cards in favor of their blue eyed persons to grab money meant for the poor.
They added that the concerned Village Level Workers (VLWs) Panchs and Sarpanch are together making money out of this scheme.
“It was an utter shock for me when I came to know that I was enrolled for the work under MGNREGA. Even somebody else has taken the amount on my name,” Nisar Ahmad of Kochapura Bandipora, a local said.
He alleged that last year a job card was secretly issued under his name while the money was withdrawn on the name of local Panch’s son.
Villagers said the benefit under the scheme have mostly gone to well off individuals “who could feed feasts to the officers.”
The startling revelation came to fore after Mohd Iqbal and Nisar Ahmad, both residents of Watapora sought clarification over the work projects in Panchayat Watapora.
Meanwhile, locals today staged protest against RDD officials, alleging that the person dealing with affairs of MGNREGA are either political workers or government employees.
“Besides drawn money without thumb impressions, the authorities have also issued job cards to the ineligible persons,” aggrieved residents said.
The documents in possession of a news agency reveal that, “there is a misuse of MGNREGA funds in Bandipora Block as lakhs of rupees have allegedly been drawn illegally from bank accounts of these job card holders.”
The document further reads that Rs 1,42,000 have been released for works which don’t exist on ground, which include the work on Jamia Masjid to Grave yard Kochapura.
Money on Footpath Path and construction of local road which comes under R&B and has been macadamized already has been illegally drawn.
Rs 72 thousands have been released in favor of blue eyed persons by local Panch who is well politically connected.
However, none of these works exist on ground and the funds have been misappropriated by the Sarpanches and Panch in nexus with the Rural Development Department (RDD) officials.
Documents reveal that a local woman has received Rs 52 thousands as Labour charges from the works in the village but she according to her hasn’t received a single penny till now.
Locals further said the funds released under for construction of bathrooms have also gone into the pockets of Panch and Political influenced persons and other concerned officials of RDD.
Inhabitants of Watapora village alleged that lakhs of rupees have been drawn against fake works executed under the centrally sponsored MGNREGA in the area.
On papers, scores of works have been shown executed but ironically, on ground most of these works do not exist.
Money has been illegally drawn against fake land leveling and construction of bathrooms and roads. “The scam must be thoroughly investigated,” locals demanded.
They said that the information provided by the department reveals that it has constructed concrete bathrooms, several roads but none of them exists on the ground.
“According to the papers, I have received 5 thousand rupees for working on Baba Kareeme to Jamia Masjid road but in reality I have not received even a single penny from the department,” said Abdul Qayoom, a local resident.
However, the department didn’t provide share details regarding the issuance of job cards.
Local residents appealed Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, Rural Development Department Minister Abdul Haq Khan to intervene into the matter and initiate a probe into the ‘embezzlement of funds’ meant for the poor Job card holders.
Block Development Officer (BDO) Bandipora, Reyaz Hussain said, “We are investigating the matter.”
He said that a team headed by Director Rural Development Department Ganzanfar Ali visited the spot and took the details.
Hussain further said that the investigation is on in this regard. (KNS)