Monday, June 11, 2007

Centre’s social audit finds tribals hardpressed for work in KBK

Financial Express, June 11, 2007

Centre’s social audit finds tribals hardpressed for work in Kalahandi
Posted online: Monday, June 11, 2007 at 0000 hours IST

NEW DELHI, JUN 10: There are no smiles on the faces of the poverty-stricken tribals of the infamous KBK hunger belt of Orissa. The government’s ambitious National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, being implement in the region, has turned out to be a mockery, largely benefiting the implementing authorities at the expense of poor tribals, according to a survey by Centre for Enviournment and Food Security (CEFS), conducted under the Union government’s social audit programme.
The erstwhile Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) has been divided into six districts, namely Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabrangpur and Rayagada. As the region was known for starvation deaths, it was declared as the region for special attention.

According to the survey, there are irregularities in entries in job cards, maintenance of muster rolls and disbursement of payments to the intended beneficiaries. CEFS conducted a survey of 100 villages in the six districts in the last two months.

Among the major findings of the CEFS report social audit has not been conducted in any of the 100 villages and the muster rolls have not been checked by the village people. In none of the villages under survey 100-day employment was given. No job cards are issued in 11 villages, no work was undertaken in 37 villages after issuance of job cards and after 16 months of the launch of the scheme. Job cards issued in 23 villages are not given to the workers, they are still in the custody of panchayat executive officers (PEOs) and junior officers.

In 25 villages under survey partial payments have been made to workers and in three village no payments have been made even after 4 to 8 months of work. In 6 villages in Kashipur block in Rayagada district work is being undertaken without issuance any job cards

“Our findings reveal a nexus between a chain of officials, from state to village levels, responsible for implementation of the scheme. Benefits are not reaching the beneficiaries," CEFS director, Parashuram Ray told FE.He said the BDO of Nandur block in Koraput district, Jyoti Rajan Mishra had instructed the PEOs not to show any muster rolls to the visiting CEFS team.

The PEO of Raisingh gram panchayat, Nagesh Choudhary has given in writing that he would not show any muster roll without the permission of the BDO. The next day when the CEFS team contacted the BDO he said that the permission from the district collector was necessary. The CEFS team even contacted the state commissioner-cum-secretary of panchayati raj, Rabindranath Dash to resolve the issue, but failed.

Ray said despite such hindrances, the CEFS team could get some interesting accounts from the people. In Maagaral village card no 2401 was issued to Hari Sisa for 59 day-work, but actually he was offered work for only 20 days.

According to the study, there are six enteries in the muster rolls in the name of Hari Sisa. Similarly job card no 2335 was issued to Mini Budi Khilo for 36-day work while he was offered work for only 8 days with three entries in the muster rolls. Balaram Sisa was issued job card no 2397 for 30-day work, but was offered work for only 5 days. Hagu Hemendru was issued job card no 2360 for 58-day work, but was offered work for only 6 days.

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