A social activist, Doria Shabong, has petitioned Chief Secretary MS Rao to hold an inquiry into the alleged siphoning of funds from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Umlyngka, East Khasi Hills, during 2017-18 and 208-19.
In a letter Shabong urged Rao to immediately institute a high-level inquiry to expose all the details of how money had been released for several schemes during the past two years even though they remain incomplete till date and many of them are in shambles.
Along with the letter were attached 11 work orders for the schemes amounting to approximately Rs 1.23 crore. The numerous work orders are confusing and allegedly misleading, which can only be deciphered through an independent inquiry.
Even as the controversy rages there are ongoing attempts to cover it up and silence the truth-seekers.
Shabong has been put under pressure for following up on the RTI sought by well-known activist Agnes Kharshiing, President of the Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO). In what could be a repercussion of her social activism, the landlord of her rented house has asked her to vacate the premises where she has lived most of her life. An appeal for her protection has been made to the office of the Deputy Commissioner, East Khasi Hills. The matter is a delicate and urgent one as Shabong is also a single mother with a disabled child.
The MGNREGS schemes in question are for footpaths, drains, washing places, which have mostly been left unimplemented or at the most incomplete.
One of the schemes pertains to “construction of drain from PWD (Public Works Department) road Lumdeisngi to football ground and fp (footpath) ic (including) railing under Umlyngka VEC (Village Employment Council)” worth Rs 67.8 lakh. Of this amount RS 45.07 lakh was the wages component and Rs 22.74 lakh was for materials.
However, the drain reportedly does not exist, though there is a railing but with a signboard that does not link it to MGNREGS. The mandatory stone plaque with all relevant information on the project has been planted in Mawshai locality instead of Lumdeisngi, it has been claimed.
Meanwhile, on the same matter, Kharshiing has written to the Principal Accountant General to audit the MGNREGS schemes in Umlyngka.