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Nadia Panchayat Makes Children Beneficiary In 100 Days Job Scheme

2016-08-11 22:04

Elderly people working in a rural job project

Nakashipara (Nadia), Aug. 9: A Trinamul Congress run gram panchayat body in Nadia’s Nakashipara block has been accused of siphoning money showing school going minor children as the beneficiaries under the centre’s flagship 100-day rural job guarantee scheme – NREGA.

These children, who are not eligible to have job cards under the scheme, have been paid wages for excavation of earth for road works executed by the panchayat body through their bank accounts allegedly using other beneficiary’s cards.

As per clause 4 of the legibility guidelines for 100days job scheme issued by the centre’s department of rural development the adult members of any household can only be entitled for a job card.

At the same time it is illegal under the Child Labour (Protection and Regulation) Act, 1986 to allow children below 14 to work.

Interestingly enough, these minor beneficiaries include the 12 years old daughter of a lady member of the panchayat, who has been “engaged” in a job scheme as a beneficiary using the job card of one of her distant relatives. Her age was shown in the beneficiary list as 35.

The girl, who reads in class six in a local girls’ high school has been paid wages through her State Bank of India account with Bethuadahari branch.

Local villagers have lodged complaint with Nakashipara BDO  and SDO of Krishnanagar (Sadar) sub division against Birpur-II panchayat pradhan Aziz Mondal and member Suchitra Ghosh for the alleged corruption.

They have also submitted a joint petition before chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

The NfN could not independently confirm if any of these children was physically engaged in the job schemes or the number of children thus included as beneficiary illegally, but the available documents confirm that at least three of them were paid wages through their bank accounts.

Trouble broke out early this year after the Birpur-II panchayat authority released three earth work job schemes for three different village roads.

But, locals become angry when they found that in large stretches of these roads no earth work was at all done physically.

A complainant Subrata Ghosh, who sales fodder said: “All the job schemes were concerned with development of village roads. But, in many stretches no earth work was done. This made us suspicious. We later found that the beneficiaries were already paid which include minor daughter of local member Suchitra Ghosh and children of her relatives”.

As per the beneficiaries’ list Suchitra’s daughter (Debjani) has been shown having job card No. B-01-012-007-010/114, which is actually owned by one Subhash Ghosh.

Panchayat pradhan Aziz Mondal said: “Suchitra’s husband Biplab was a supervisor in the job and might have included her daughter’s name”

Biplab today confirmed that Debjani is his daughter, but claimed ignorance on the matter.

Both Suchitra and Biplab refused to talk on the matter.

Available documents shows that their daughter was paid twice through her SBI account (35121383463) for Rupees 1320 and Rupees 2250.

Another complainant Sukanta Mullick, a farmer said: “Suchitra siphoned money using the name of children of her relatives as beneficiary who live in Ghosh para area”.

A 15 year old class nine boy, who reads in Patikabari high school, is one such relative of her who was included as one of the beneficiaries. The boy (Prakash Ghosh), son of Suchitra’s relative Dipak Ghosh was paid Rupees 2250 through his account (5303021414376) Bangiya Gramin Vikash Bank’s Khidirpur branch. His job card number as B-01-012-007-010/118.

The boy’s father Dipak Ghosh, however, claimed ignorance. He said: “My son had never worked in 100days work. He is a student and has no job card”. He, however, refused to speak when asked if the money was withdrawn by him from his son’s account.

Another boy, aged 13, who reads in class seven at Bethuadahari JCM high school, has also been found in the beneficiaries’ list of the Birpur-II panchayat.

The boy (Rupam Ghosh), who has been shown as holder of job card number B-01-012-007-010/177 has already been paid Rupees 2250 through his SBI, Bethuadahari branch’s account (35231420740).

“These children are innocent. They most probably do not know that their names have been used in corruption. Their parents are involved in this corruption and withdrawn the money from their account because as a minor they are not eligible to handle bank transaction independently. The local member and her husband Biplab who worked as one of the supervisors are involved in the corruption, he further added.

On scrutiny both the SBI and BGVB authorities confirmed that the money credited to the accounts of the children have been withdrawn through their ‘guardians’.

When asked panchayat pradhan Aziz Mondal acknowledged the allegation over phone from Vellore where he has went for treatment.

He said: “It is quite unfortunate. It is quite impossible for a pradhan like me to examine identity of each of the beneficiaries. Primarily it is the responsibility of the supervisor who prepares the list of beneficiaries. The local member of the panchayat then identifies beneficiary for payment. I only approve payee list. I think the supervisors of these schemes have included these children for personal benefit”, he added.

SDO (Sadar) Krishnanagar Maitrayee Ganguly said: “I have received the complaint and told the Nakashipara BDO to conduct a probe and submit his report immediately”

Nakashiparfa BDO Dibyendu Majumder said: “A probe is under way. Preliminary findings indicate that the allegations are largely true. It appears that the concerned officials of the panchayat faked the age of the children and included them as beneficiary”.

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