The Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) civic group has raised questions regarding the Rs 399 crore expenditure incurred in the struggle against Covid-19, which was revealed by the state government yesterday.
Citing a specific example, the government’s claim to have spent Rs 51 crore in providing assistance to labourers, daily wage earners and Below Poverty Line (BPL) families was queried by TUR, who said in a letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma today that, if each recipient was given Rs 2,100, there would have been 2.43 lakh recipients of the cash support.
However, in its survey of workers in the unorganised sector, TUR said that “very few labourers, daily wage earners or BPL families have got this cash support.” Many who did claim to have received funds from the government stated that they had gotten a one-time payment of Rs 700, the group added.
It also opined that the “statements made by Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong about the cost of food being provided to people in corona care centres is exorbitantly high” and this seems to also be the case for the cost of testing kits.
The letter, signed by TUR’s Angela Rangad, demanded that the government “immediately” provide the details of beneficiaries of the cash support and other details in the public domain as per the Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act.
“TUR is afraid that the pandemic is being used by some to indulge in unaccountable financial actions. This crisis cannot be used for corruption and private enrichment,” Rangad said.
TUR also appealed to the state Lokayukta to be proactive during this time so that the pandemic is not “misused to enrich the few” and hoped that the government will commit itself to “a more transparent, corruption-free and accountable governance.”
INFORMATION SOUGHT BY TUR
· Detailed breakdown of various Covid-related expenditure
· Detailed list of all personnel hired or deputed for Covid-19 duty and their emoluments
· Details, including all contracts and tender documents, of all procurements – medical and otherwise – carried out for the pandemic
· List of all vendors and suppliers along with payment details to them
· List of all beneficiaries who received financial support as stranded citizens and for cash assistance to labourers, daily wage earners and BPL families
· All expenses on publicity and information, education and communication (IEC) materials, public relations and advertisements to be put in the public domain
· All tenders and contracts in relation to the Education Department from March to date to be put in the public domain
· A weekly financial report presented to the citizens of the state on Covid-related income and expenditure.