Bhubaneswar : A year after the CBI probed into the irregularities across six districts of Orissa, a special performance audit of the implementation of the NREGS programme by the Comptroller and Auditor General has found misappropriation of funds through ghost workers, uneconomic execution of the works, delay in payment, and irregular maintenance of records still plaguing the scheme.
The Supreme Court last year ordered a CBI probe following a writ petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO alleging corruption to the tune of Rs 500 crore in NREGS in Bolangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts between May and June 2007. The survey said that NREGS in Orissa has been hijacked by officials responsible for its implementation and there was open loot of taxpayers’ money. The CBI has submitted its report to the SC.
The performance audit by CAG conducted at the behest of Union Rural Development Ministry for the period 2007-12 was done between March and June 2012 through test check of records of panchayatiraj department, social audit organisations in 200 grampanchayats across eight districts. The districts where the audit was conducted are Sambalpur, Khurda, Ganjam, Bhadrak, Kendrapara, Gajapati, Bolangir and Angul. Besides, door-to-door beneficiaries’ interviews were done along with spot verification of job cards.
The scheme was launched in Orissa in February 2006, and till March 2012 the state received Rs 5826.46 crore from the Centre of which Rs 5596.6 crore was utilised.
The performance audit found misappropriation of funds through ghost workers, irregular fund management including diversion, irregular maintenance of records, retention of funds in private banks, creation of non-durable assets, uneconomic execution of the works, and incurring administrative contingency more than the admissible, and weak institutional mechanism.
* Chandbali, Basudevpur and Bamara in Sambalpur district had 147 ghost workers
* In Ramgarh grampanchayat, Rs 1.95 crore was misappropriated in June-July 2010
* In seven blocks of Bhadrak, Bolangir and Sambalpur, 504 cases were found incomplete involving Rs 4.94 crore
* In two grampanchayats, of the 981 job card holders, 162 had migrated, 89 were dead, 18 were old and handicapped
* In 1,171 cases, photographs of beneficiaries were not affixed to the job cards