Funds ‘siphoned’ to make bridge that already exists

Sonbhadra SP MLA writes to DM on 'embezzlement' of central funds to counter Naxalism, seeks action against UPRNN officials.

Funds under Integrated Action Plan (IAP) under the Centre's Backward Region Grant Fund and meant to counter Naxalism by providing infrastructure in affected areas within a short period of time are being siphoned away by duplication of projects in Uttar Pradesh's Sonbhadra district.

The issue came to fore when Samajwadi Party MLA from Ghorawal, Ramesh Dubey, recently wrote to the District Magistrate of Sonbhadra demanding action and recovery of funds from officials of UP Rajkiya Nirman Nigam (UPRNN) for drawing funds for a project which was funded by other schemes.

In his letter to the DM, Dubey stated that Rs 79 lakh has been sanctioned under IAP for constructing a bridge in village Pedh Naugarhwa in 2011-12. A sum of Rs 39 lakh was released by the district administration to UPRNN, which has already spent Rs 15 lakh on the project.

"Interestingly, a 10-year-old bridge already exists on the spot. Locals informed me that it was constructed by funding from Kshetra Panchayat and Zila Panchayat," Dubey told The Indian Express. He also stated that former MLA Anil Kumar Maurya had also sanctioned Rs 3.65 lakh for the project in 2004-05 from his MLA fund. "The funds were given to the Rural Engineering Department (RED) which had completed the project," Dubey added.

The implementation of the IAP is the responsibility of a three-member district level committee which is headed by the DM, with the Superintendent of Police and District Forest Officer (DFO) as members. The IAP was especially launched by the Centre across 60 tribal and backward districts of the country in November 2010. In UP, Sonbhadra was selected.

The purpose of the scheme was to provide public infrastructure such as school buildings, anganwadi centres, primary health centres, drinking water supply, village roads and electric lights.

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