Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) renewed its attack on parliamentary secretary Rural Development(RD) S. Pangnyu Phom for his remarks made to the local press on November 4, wherein he had purportedly claimed the department and agencies were “unaware of the (NREGA)guidelines”, when asked about alleged corruption and violation of NREGA guidelines in some districts.
The NPCC statement comes against the backdrop of the ongoing VDB conference in Ganeshnagar, near Dimapur where the parliamentary secretary on Monday, gave the welcome address at the inaugural session.
The NPCC in a statement issued by chairman NREGS Cell Sulanthung Lotha asked Pangnyu under what scheme or fund had he, on one occasion, allegedly donated Rs.20 lakh to villagers.
Sulanthung alleged that Pangnyu during his one year and eight months in office, has “become a wealthy NREGS tycoon/launderer and purchased buildings worth crores in Dimapur and Kohima and huge chunk of lands in Dimapur worth crores.”
Sulanthung blasted the DAN government over its interpretation of being in a state of “unawareness of NREGA guidelines” while accusing it of being responsible for not being able to judiciously use the funds allocated for NREGS in a transparent manner adhering to the laid down ‘Operational Guidelines’.
Sulanthung said all the poor villagers in Nagaland should have been “prosperous, happy and leading a contented life today” , if the reports of the Ministry of Rural Development did not state that almost Rs.700 crore fund allocated to Nagaland alone under NREGS to facilitate employment for the poor section living in the rural areas and villages had been utilized judiciously.
Under NREGS poor people are guaranteed 100% work for 100 days, but the funds allocated by centre have become the property of the VIPs particularly the “RD Parliamentary Secretary”, said Sulanthung.
Sulanthung indicted the “big shots” of Nagaland and RD officials including DRDA project director, BDO’s (Block Development Officer) and some VDB (Village Development Board) secretaries of embezzlement of hundreds of crores rupees by issuing job cards to “pseudo job card holders and also creating lakhs of bogus and fictitious job cards”.
“Instead of delivering the programs and funds to the villagers, the DAN Government and its agencies have device a method and trained the village leaders, particularly many VDB Secretaries/members and associates to hoard the job card holder’s funds and shared the looted booty with RD officials and politicians”, he stated.
On physical verification by Congress party workers, the villagers revealed that instead of paying Rs.10,000 per person per annum, they received only Rs.500 to Rs.1000 per annum,while in many cases, villagers have not received even a single rupee, he said.
The RD department has thoroughly violated and misused the NREGA guidelines prescribed as an act by the Parliament, Sulanthung alleged.
The NPCC Cell stated that it discovered gross anomalies in the process of its investigation where- Job cards were not distributed to the villagers (NREGA rules open violation); random job card entries were done without prior consent of people concerned; multiple entries of job cards; countless bogus job cards; muster rolls forged; Social audit record forged; work registers not maintained or forged; converting NREGS funds to contract works; random issuance of NREGS work orders by project directors (PD) and BDOs to individuals and groups; gross misuse of NREGS funds under material component heads; work orders issued to individuals through VIPs, parliamentary secretaries and ministers note pads; BDOs issuing NREGS works to NPF party workers; depriving the villagers by giving Rs.1 crore each to all the MLAs during 2008-09 and Rs.40 lakh again to all MLAs in 2009-10 stating some VIPs had taken cash directly from the village allotted funds through Programme Officers, BDOs without any work being done under the converted funds of NREGS.
Further he said, wages of the village job card holders were not paid in many villages with alleged understanding and support from BDOs, PDs and RD department officials by utilizing machineries like bulldozers/ JCB’s which was against the NREGS guidelines.
Sulanthung said the Congress was not opposing for the sake of it but were opposing the “corrupt DAN” which was depriving the villagers under NREGS program.
“It is our mission to ensure that downtrodden and poor people are protected from the heavy clutches of DAN Governments exploitation. Be with us in Congress party to restore and live a dignified life”.
Congress in its release demanded that the parliamentary secretary be dropped if not the minister in-charge of RD department quit office on moral grounds “in view of gross corruption and irregularities committed by the parliamentary secretary”.