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Barabanki: Union minister alleges irregularities in rural development schemes

Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain Aditya along with Member of Parliament from Barabanki,PL Punia have found anomalies in the implementation of rural development schemes during their surprise visit in the villages of Barabanki district on Tuesday.

Written by Express News Service | Lucknow | September 28, 2011 3:29:41 am

Union Minister of State for Rural Development Pradeep Jain Aditya along with Member of Parliament from Barabanki,PL Punia have found anomalies in the implementation of rural development schemes during their surprise visit in the villages of Barabanki district on Tuesday.

The team inspected Teergaon village of Harka block and Sarthara village in Banki block.

While the minister alleged large-scale anomalies in implementation of the schemes in both the villages,he specifically pointed out “blocking of about 10 culverts in an auxiliary canal to benefit farm house of a senior IAS officer in Meerapur hamlet under Harka block”.

The minister said the surprise inspection was part of a routine exercise and the two village panchayats were selected as they had shown expenditure of over Rs 1 crore in last financial year.

“As we reached Teergaon,the villagers complained that culverts of an auxiliary canal passing through their village was blocked to ensure proper water supply to the farm house of a senior IAS officer. We found the farm house belongs to senior officer Anil Sant,” Jain told The Indian Express. He climbed the wall of the canal and also entered the farm house to verify the farmers’ complaints.

However,Sant,the secretary to the Chief Minister,denied the allegations and said,“The farm house belongs to my father and not me. Secondly,no culvert has been blocked and water of the canal is for all. People of the area are rather happy as the canal has improved their farming. So,there is no reason for them to complain.”

Jain said they did not intend to target anybody and that the inquiry was done after the villagers’ complaint in the matter. “We have also found financial irregularities. State Irrigation department built this canal but the expenses were taken from MGNREGA funds,which is against the rules.” He said the state Irrigation department should have shared the expenses under convergence model.

“Even the 60:40 ratio of labour and material component was not maintained,” he said.

PL Punia,Congress MP from Barabanki,who accompanied the team,said,“The construction of this stretch of canal is faulty and unauthorised. While allegations of land encroachment do not concern us,we would certainly inquire into blocking of the culverts and extension of the canal to an individual’s farm house.” He said the blocking of about 10-15 culverts in Teergaon is affecting about 450 families who are getting bills for water which they are not able to use for irrigation.

In Sarthara village in Banki block,the team found that heavy expenditure was marked under the head “Bamboo” but officers failed to show any records for its purchase. “We found that Rs 60-70 lakh was attributed under the head of “Bamboo”.

He further said that less than one per cent of the women in the district participated in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme,which was a matter of concern in the district.

“We will make a detailed report on this inspection and send a copy to the state government as well so that they can taken proper action,” Jain said.

Later,Barabanki Chief Development Officer,Kinjal Singh in a statement,clarified that of the total 97 culverts only those were closed which were unauthorised and that the move was undertaken to stop soil erosion.

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