With massive outrage sparked in various villages of Ramnagar constituency against the working of PHE and RDD Departments, the protests against their malfunctioning had become a regular feature, said Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and Former Minister.
He said that not only scarcity of drinking water was a general complaint of various areas but the legal stipulation of provision of 100 days employment to Job card holders by RDD under MGNREGA as provided under the Act was also being violated with impunity in various Blocks of Ramnagar.
Expressing grave concern over the acute potable drinking water problem in especially in the remote, Kandi areas, he sought a probe into the working of PHE schemes vis a vis funds received and output registered on the ground.
He said that in the wake of several WSS schemes having gone defunct and acute problems faced by the people, several complaints of fake withdrawals of funds had been received from various villages without executing the work on the ground.
He said that not only the panned funds were reportedly misappropriated and embezzled but huge additionalits released at the fag end of the financial year were swindled by vested interests in collusion.
Making a particular mention of Rs. 60 lakh released by DDC Udhampur on 30th March for PHE schemes of Ramnagar, Singh expressed his dismay over the utilization of the entire amount within one day before the closure of the financial year with none to take cognizance of the apparent fraud of huge magnitude.
Seeking the attention of concerned authorities to the grave issue of water scarcity, Singh called for immediate restoration of defunct WSS besides ensuring water supply through tankers in affected areas.
Calling upon the conscientious authorities, if any, in the government, Singh called for a probe into the funds sanctioned in Ramnagar constituency for development schemes particularly in PHE and RDD and the corresponding delivery on the ground. He regretted that funds under MGNREGA too had been abused and plundered with the concerned authorities shutting their eyes to the gross irregularities and large scale embezzlements. He said that the involvement of helmsmen in Rural Dev Deptt frauds could not be ruled out as the top officers of the Deptt booked by vigilance and FIRs having been registered against them were granted immunity by the govt. He said that rather than arresting the said officers, they were given prized postings which had encouraged the corrupt elements and given a boost to the all pervasive corruption in the Deptt.
He said that several complaints of irregular practices in Block Majalta, Chanunta, Kulwanta and Ghordi regarding the flagrant violation of GOI stipulated norms in identification and execution of works, large scale variations in labour-material ratio, purchase scams, extremely poor quality works, payments to fake Job card holders, fictitious bills, inflated billing for materials used, withdrawal of payments for non-existent works, diversion of funds, non provision of employment to genuine job card holders etc had gone unaddressed and unattended which had only emboldened the unscrupulous officials.
He said that the rural folk almost unanimously complained everywhere that no notice was taken by the authorities concerned regarding the omissions and commissions in MG-NREGA, IWMP, CD and Panchayats besides other funds placed at the disposal of RDD.
Singh regretted that even the complaints filed by him with helmsmen regarding the blatant violations and other irregularities in MG-NREGA in District Udhampur particularly the Blocks of Ramnagar, Majalta, Khoon, Basantgarh, Ghordi, Kulwanta and Chanunta on the basis his personal knowledge and replies obtained through RTI, had failed to elicit any response from concerned quarters.
He said that in view of well knit mafias in the Rural Development Deptt., the funds meant for the poor, needy and rural unemployed were being swindled thereby defeating the very purpose of the scheme. He regretted that the state govt too could not be absolved of its criminal vicarious liability as the in-explicable delay in apprehending fraudsters had allowed the corrupt and unscrupulous elements to siphon the funds envisaged for empowerment of rural poor.