Patna: It may sound incredible, nevertheless true. A septuagenarian in Bihar village, who had been running from pillar to post to weed out corruption in the so-called ‘good-governance’ of Nitish Kumar finally got success.
When all his requests to conduct a comprehensive enquiries in the discrepancies in the implementation of various centrally-sponsored welfare schemes fell on deaf ears of the state administration, it was none other than the high-level enquiry team of the Ministry of Rural Development of India, that found his allegation true.
The letter Ganesh Prasad Thakur of Beena village in Supaul district wrote to the Prime Minister, Lokayukta of Bihar, Rural Development minister Jairam Ramesh and the Transparency International India stands a testimony to the fact.
“When I observed several discrepancies in the implementation of various schemes, on the regular intervals, I kept informed the authorities in the state Government right from the District Magistrate to Chief Minister of Bihar including Vigilance department of the state.
“Experiencing that intended result is not being achieved in the State, I filed a complaint in the central Government, vide letter dated 8.1.2010, addressed to Minster of State, Rural Development, Government of India. Acting upon this, the central Government deputed aninvestigating team to enquire into the allegation. The visit of central team to Panchayat took place between 15.04.2011 and 22.04.2011.The team thoroughly enquired the implementation of various schemes and found all the allegations in the complaint was correct.”
Incidentally, the enquiry team’s report, in connection with MNREGA, indicated that working of the Panchayat was lackadaisical, revenue generating works were not given the priority, quality of work was sub-standard, the same JE/TA was preparing the estimate, supervising the work, measuring the work, processing the bills for payment etc.and the payment was being shown in the PO pass-book despite the
workers didn’t work.
About schools, the report states: “Difference in the students present in school and marked as ‘Present’, so as to get more quantity of foodgrains under Mid-Day Meal Scheme.” (sic) The team also ordered to lodge criminal cases against all the erring authorities. It was also recommended that a detailed investigation be carried out, corrective action be taken and efforts be made to recover misappropriated funds from individual concerned.”(Reference–– clause 9.1 at page no 34 and 35 of the report).
But, as everything is fair in Nitish Kumar’s ‘good givernance’, Thakur, in his letter, further remarked categorically: “Since Procedural and financial irregularities have been found true, MoRD, Govt of India vide letter dated 23.05.2011, requested Government of Bihar to take strict action including criminal proceedings. More than nine months have passed, however, actions advised by Central Government
is not being taken by the State Government. Local Authorities are busy in manipulating the findings of reports and presenting the distorted facts before the higher authority.
The intention of local authority/State Government is also clear from the fact that had they intend to take action against culprits, I would not have approached central Government. I have tried my best for about 10 years following with state Government, to curb the corruption in these schemes, so that tax-payers’ money is utilized in an effective manner. Had State Government/Local Authority taken strict action against the culprits, this could have served as a deterrent to wrong doers in the surrounding areas/states and the purpose of different developmental schemes could have been achieved?”
Chief minister Nitish Kumar would also visit Thakur’s district during his ongoing Seva Yatra this week. But, will this septuagenarian’s crusade against corruption make any impact on the Messiah of ‘good-governance’? Or, will it remain a mere piece of paper––like the complaints at his Janata Darbar?
Thakur’s case, however, is not an exception in MNREGA schemes in Bihar. Perhaps it was the reason that rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had recently remarked that in Bihar, the MNREGA money was being used for buying SUVs.
All in the name of good governance in Nitish’s Bihar!
(Author is a Bihar-based freelancer)