Thursday, October 27, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Order CBI probe into NREGA fund loot, Jairam Ramesh tells Mayawati

Order CBI probe into NREGA fund loot, Jairam Ramesh tells Mayawati
ET Bureau Oct 26, 2011, 02.14am IST

NEW DELHI: Congress sharpened its attack against BSP, with Rural
Development Minister Jairam Ramesh accusing the Mayawati government of
embezzling MGNREGA funds. In a letter to the chief minister, Ramesh
asked the state government to seek a CBI probe into "violations and
cases of deliberate embezzlement of funds" in the implementation of
the Centre's flagship programme.

Ramesh pointed to alleged siphoning of funds earmarked for the rural
employment guarantee scheme in seven districts - Balrampur, Gonda,
Mahoba, Sonbhadra, Sant Kabir Nagar and Mirzapur. "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 MGNREGA implementation in some districts of the state,"
Ramesh said.

He also charged the Mayawati government with not taking action on the
findings and recommendations of either the Centre-appointed National
Level Monitors or the State Quality Monitor. "I am sorry to say that
the state government has not been taking any worthwhile action on the
findings and recommendations of these National Level Monitors (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
MGNREGA in the four districts of Sonbhadra, Mirzapur, Kushinagar and
Sant Kabeernagar have been ignored," Ramesh wrote.

He said while the Centre was within its powers to withhold funds for
UP, it will not do so as it would only "amount to penalising the poor
people of the state for crimes committed by officials at various
levels and their political patrons." In doing so, the minister
questioned Mayawati's commitment to the weakest sections of society.
Pushing the state government to a corner to prove its bona fides,
Ramesh said the state government should give its concurrence for a CBI
probe. "Such an inquiry would ensure and expedite justice to the
weakest sections of society," he wrote.

Ramesh did not miss the opportunity to draw attention to the scam in
the National Rural Health Mission in the state. "The criminal
conspiracies in these districts to defraud the central and state
governments 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," the letter states.

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