Rural jobs: Dead continue to ‘draw’ money in Jharkhand

The Jharkhand government has carried out random inspection of NREGA works in four districts following pressure from the Centre based on complaints from Godda BJP MP Nishikant Dubey. Officials found widespread irregularities and in a few cases salaries were being drawn in the name of dead people.

State NREGA Commissioner Arun Kumar visited Godda, Dumka, Giridih and Deoghar to make spot assessment and look into specific complaints. He told The Indian Express that he had found some plaints to be genuine and promised action.

Recently Dubey, in a letter to Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, had sought filing of an FIR based on his complaints. He also demanded a "proper and thorough" action from the Central team and a CBI probe. Dubey had also provided a list of dead people on whose name NREGA money were being drawn. Thereafter, Ramesh reminded the state government in writing about an earlier letter in which he had pointed out the complaint over irregularities in NREGA implementation.

"I would request you to give Shri Dubey's letter urgent and most serious consideration. He has demanded a CBI inquiry but as you know, we cannot order a CBI inquiry unilaterally and it needs the concurrence of the state government," Ramesh wrote to Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda.

In another letter, Ramesh pointed to the state government that he had publicly lauded the state's initiative to build almost 80,000 dug-wells under MGNREGA. "But, at the same time, I cannot ignore the evidence of gross irregularity brought forward by responsible people like Shri Dubey".

NREGA commissioner said he has come across a few cases in which salaries were being drawn in the name dead people. He said these are 'aberrations' and there is a need for more awareness and better supervision.

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