Zaphou village alleges misappropriation of MGNREGS funds

Correspondent IMPHAL, Jul 28 | Publish Date: 7/28/2019 11:42:56 AM IST

Amidst hue and cry for a mechanism to check the ever increasing migrant population, ST certificate and MGNREGS job cards were allegedly found issued to 76 non-Manipuris in Manipur’s Chandel district.

Alleging that despite repeated complaints to remove them from being beneficiaries of the MGNREGS and expressing strong concern over giving ST status to the non-local people, Zaphou Bazar Authority (ZBA) threatened intense forms of protests. The ZBA threatened that they will surrender their MGNREGS job cards to the authority if the concern district administration and other government authorities fails to cancel the job cards and ST certificate issued to the non-Manipuris, Addressing a news conference at ZBA office at Zaphou Bazar today, its chairman HL Lordson expressed suspicion that the concerned authority of the district conspired with the then chairman and secretary of ZBA in misappropriating a huge amount of MGNREGS funds in the name of paying wages to the non-local job card holders.

He said that since the matter of issuance of MGNREGS job cards to the non-locals came to light, a general body meeting of the ZBA held in June 2018 had removed the then chairman and secretary of the ZBA.

After the new functionaries started handling the affairs of the ZBA, they came to know that not only job cards but ST certificates were also found issued to the 76 non-locals coming from outside the state and staying in Zaphou Bazar.

Asserting that since the detection of the names of the non-locals in the beneficiaries of MGNREGS, the ZBA has been pressing the district administration and other concerned authorities to remove them. However, the same was yet to be materialised. This has compelled the ZBA to grow suspicious on involvement of officials of the concerned departments while the district administration issued the job cards and ST certificates.

During examination to the documents related with the issual of job cards, there were suspicions of the then ZBA secretary LH John misappropriating over Rs one crore MGNREGS funds meant for payment of wages to non-local job card holders in collusion with the officials dealing with the implementation of the Central sponsored scheme in the district. The new ZBA had put up the matter with the authority concerned by way of lodging complaints, but Chandel district administration, as well as other authority concerns,  initiated no action till date.

This has compelled the ZBA to suspect involvement of higher authorities of the state government in the malpractices in the issue of job cards, ST certificates and withdrawals of MGNREGS wages in fraudulent manners, Lordson added. He added that if the concerned authority failed to take up positive action to cancel the backdoor issuance of the job cards and ST certificates to non-locals, beneficiaries of MGNREGS in Zaphou Bazar will launch a series of agitations. If they (authority concerns) still remain silent over the matter, they will take the step of surrendering job cards to the authority concerns, he warned.

Attending the news conference, Th Shanglung, a woman member of the ZBA, expressed discontentment over the officials of the Chandel DC office for not taking the matter seriously even as the ZBA pointed its figure to the misdeed.

She observed the matter of issuance of ST certificates and job card holders to the non-local people should be taken serious as it amount to infringe the rights of not only local people.


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