In the face of complaints pouring in of fraudulent practices carried out in the name of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) in Ambegaon taluka,Deputy Commissioner in-charge of Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) of Pune division Pradeep Patil has issued showcause notices to forest officials,in-charge of implementing work under the scheme in that area.
The key allegations against the forest officials are those of bungling of funds to the tune of almost Rs 2 crore and falsification of data entered in the muster rolls.
On March 30 and April 6,Newsline had reported on the alleged malpractices prevalent in Ambegaon taluka under MNREGA,particularly on the case of Chandrabhaga Dharma Gavari,a tribal woman from Tirpad gram panchyat who was shown to have been working and withdrawing payment under MNREGS days after she had died.
Complaints about fraudulent entries in muster rolls have also been pouring in from Rajpur and Falode villages. In several cases,people whose names appeared on the muster rolls,had never even worked under the scheme.
Patil,while speaking to Newsline,said preliminary investigations by the deputy collector of EGS showed that in more than one case,forest officials had demanded funds for items that were not included in the list of sanctioned materials.
In two cases,we have found that orders were placed for very large sized plastic bags and saplings. Both these works come under skilled work and prior permission from implementing authority is necessary for initiating such purchases. The total worth of demand so made was about Rs 2 crore, he said.
As prior permission was not taken,the matter was investigated by the office of the deputy collector of EGS. Following the inquiries,we decided to serve showcause notices to the officers involved as this amounted to fraudulent practices. Once we receive their reply,we will initiate disciplinary action against the officers involved, he said.
Regarding complaints of fraudulent names appearing on the muster rolls too,Patil said the district collector has initiated an inquiry,headed by the tehsildar. Once that report is ready we would be taking suitable action, he said.