New Delhi: Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati citing a huge scam in MNREGA scheme in the state.
Jairam has cited seven districts spread across UP where central funds have been allegedly misused by the state. These districts are Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Sant Kabir Nagar and Mirzapur.
Here is the full text of Jairam Ramesh's letter to Mayawati:
Jairam has cited seven districts spread across UP where central funds have been allegedly misused by the state.
I write to you in great anguish regarding the implementation of MG-NREGA in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
It is true that a network of civil society organizations working through Nari Sanghs has been able to bring about a greater awareness of the rights of MG-NREGA workers. I have myself interacted with one such organization called Vanangana which is active in Chitrakoot and Banda. But the overall feedback that we have so far reveals that the implementation of MG-NREGA in Uttar Pradesh has been far from satisfactory, more so in most other states. Many serious and, in fact, brazen violations and cases of deliberate embezzlement of funds have been coming to the notice of the Union Ministry of Rural Development from time to time. The Union Ministry of Rural Development deputes National Level Monitors (NLMs) to investigate into serious complaints. However, I am sorry to say that the State Government has not been taking any worthwhile action on the findings and recommendations of these NLMs. 22 NLM reports, which have pointed out grave irregularities, have been pending for action with the state government for months together.
It is not just the findings of the National Level Monitors that have been ignored by the state government. I find that findings of the State Quality Monitor (SQM) himself in relation to the implementation of MG-NREGA in the four districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Kushinagar and Sant Kabeernagar have been ignored. No action has been taken on the recommendations regarding probing disproportionate asset or criminal liability of officials. Some officials appear to have been suspended but there has been no action on the many other recommendations made by this impartial inquiry conducted an officer well-known for his integrity. The signal that has gone out by the state government's continuing inaction is clear-make money openly, flout all rules and procedures blatantly and nothing will happen to you if you have the patronage of the ruling establishment in the state.
Madam Chief Minister, the Union Ministry of Rural Development always has the option of stopping funds to Uttar Pradesh, either wholly or partially, for MG-NREGA till credible action has been taken by the state government on the reports submitted by the NLMs and SQMs. But this would amount to penalising the poor people of the state for crimes committed by officials at various levels and their political patrons. The other option we have is to get a thorough CBI investigation conducted, for which I require the concurrence of the state government. Surely, if the state government has nothing to hide and has a clear conscience, it should have no objection to our request to have a thorough CBI inquiry conducted into MG-NREGA implementation in some districts of the state based on the findings of the NLMs and SQMs and the various media reports that have appeared. Such an enquiry would ensure and expedite justice to the weakest sections of society.
I look forward to hearing from you and your concurrence for an urgent CBI probe into the implementation of MG-NREGA Balrampur, Gonda, Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Sant Kabir Nagar, Mirzapur and Kushinagar. The need for such a CBI probe is urgent since the labour budget under MG-NREGA has exceeded Rs 5000 crore in 2011/12 in UP which, incidentally, has all been borne by the Central Government. The criminal conspiracies in these districts to defraud the Central and state government appear to be as scandalous as what has been the case with the National Rural Health Mission in the state which is the subject of an on-going CBI investigation.
Madam Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh will always receive the highest priority in rural development programmes and schemes of the Central government. This is as it should be.
With warm regards,