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Rich given NREGA job cards in Bihar

By Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna
July 30, 2009 13:41 IST
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It can possibly happen only in Bihar. The names of rich including chartered accountant, government employees, shopkeeper of Public Distribution System and even dead have been allotted job cards and they have drawn money as wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in the state.

None other than the Bihar Rural Development Minister Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha admitted this in the state assembly in a reply to an Independent Member of Legislative Assembly Kishor Kumar Munna, who brought this to his notice.

Soon after Kushwaha had admitted that it was detected that some rich people including government employees were given job cards under the NRGEA in flood prone Saharsa district, opposition members demanded clarification from the state government and action against those responsible for irregularities.

Munna stunned all when he claimed that there was corruption in distribution of job cards under NREGA in Sataur panchayat under Navhatta block in Saharsa. "I told in the state assembly that job cards were given to children age between 6 to 14, owner of a tractor, owner of five acre landed property, government employees and handicapped" Munna told in Patna on Thursday.

Taking the issue raised by Munna seriously, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the allegations of rich people allotted job cards under the NREGA in Bihar. Kumar made it clear that disciplinary action will be taken against those involved in it.

Kumar said that the inquiry would reveal how the government employees had managed to get the job cards and whether they had drawn wages allotted under the scheme.

The state government in a bid to check irregularities in the payment of NREGA workers, has launched an ambitious 'E-Shakti' project to facilitate them with smart cards carrying details of their duration of work and the wages earned.

The scheme would check fake payments made under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act and ensure that the officials don't fudge the workers' wages, state rural development ministry sources said.

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Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna