Imphal: Rural development and Panchayati Raj minister Thongam Biswajit Singh, on Tuesday conducted an on the spot enquiry following reports in social media claiming wrongdoings in awarding man-days to job cardholders under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, at the Konthoujam Gram Panchayat.
Following the enquiry by officials of the department, the minister announced actions against all those found guilty of wrongdoings.
Acting on the video posted in social media yesterday, the minister made a surprise visit to the Konthoujam Assembly Constituency Gram Panchayat this morning. In the video, a woman from Konthoujam Makha Leikai Ward No 5 claimed that she had to work alone for four man-days.
During the enquiry, the woman recounted her claims before the minister and officials of the department. She apprised the minister that her ward member informed job-card holders that since the area is in a containment zone, payments will be made for only 16 man-days of the allotted 20 man-days.
She informed that while others seem to be okay with the member’s action, she couldn’t agree with it and told the member that she would like to work for all the 20 man-days since her family had no other means of earning due to the present lockdown.
Following claims made by the woman, the minister gave a strong instruction to all officials concerned accompanying him to look into the matter on the spot. During the enquiry, officials corroborated the woman’s statement with documents and found that all other job-carders holder had given their signature to an agreement with the member to work for only 16 of the 20 man-days, whereas the woman alone had decided to work for all allotted 20 man-days.
Further, it came to light that the concerned GRS had also failed to take signatures of job-card holders for works executed earlier. Following the official findings, the minister announced action against the concerned officials and to conduct a more detailed enquiry into the incident. He said that anyone found doing wrong deliberately will not be spared and action will be taken at the earliest.
The minister said it is unfortunate that such an incident has occurred at a time when the government is trying to enhance rural livelihood during the lockdown through proper implementation of the scheme in the state.
Encouraging proper implementation of the scheme by following all proper guidelines and protocols, the minister said that job-card holders can now focus on individual benefit schemes like plantation of lemon-grass, cintrolla, mushroom cultivation, animal farming, etc, under the MGNREGS. This individual benefit schemes will ensure a sustainable future, he added.
Biswajit urged all to ensure that such unwanted incidents are not repeated in the future and that all concerned work in unity to enhance rural livelihood through the scheme. Today, the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been showing concern and encouragement for job-card holders to overcome the hardships face due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.
The minister feted the woman for her determination to work and provided her with an additional payment for 50 man-days as an act of encouragement. The concerned mate of the ward who highlighted the woman’s issue before the minister and concerned authorities was also feted for ensuring that card holders who are willing to work get work.
He urged the local youth clubs and Meira Paibi organisations to continue cooperating and supporting the authorities in the proper implementation of the scheme and to highlight any grievances to the authorities through the official toll free number.
He said the habit of sharing payments between the authorities and job-cardholders without executing actual work should be stopped at once, and that the remaining amount for the 4 man-days should be properly utilised.
He instructed the officials to ensure that those willing to work for the remaining four man-days are able to get work and that the remaining amount be utilised in the neighbouring ward.