Taking a strong exception to the malfunctioning of Rural Development Department particularly the way National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) is being implemented in Jammu and Kashmir, CPI (M) leader and MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has said the administration seems facilitating squeezing funding for this scheme in the State. In a statement to KNS, the CPI (M) leader has observed that NREGA was meant for generating employment in rural areas of the State but due to gross negligence and dereliction of duties of the administration, the poor and the deserving rural populace are being deprived of even job allowances. “Reports galore that there is favoritism in allocation of different works under this scheme and the money meant for poor goes into the pockets of corrupt officials and influential contractors,” said Tarigami. “Far flung and hilly areas should have been taken up on priority under NREGA to provide employment to the locals but till date these areas have not been explored fully. He remarked that there seems to be a nexus between corrupt officials and contractors. Tarigami also rued the reports of drastic curtailment of funds owing to lack of demand from the department concerned. “Our successive regimes have not been able to utilize funds and properly project the demand with the Union Ministry of Rural Development from time to time. Thus the real objective of the scheme remains defeated. Facts reveal that the department at different levels lacks absorbation capacity. He also ridiculed the works taken up by the rural development department without any consent from the Panchayats and Gram Sabhas which is mandatory as per the guide lines of the Scheme. “Not only the institution of Panchayati Raj which were intended to play an important role in planning and executing this flagship programme to respond to the local needs of the people are being sidelined but works are taken up without the approval of Gram Sabhas which speaks volumes about the lack of transparency and probity in the implementation of MGNREGA in J&K,” the CPI (M) leader said. He said this tendency of the administration has resulted into several problems ranging from corruption to poor planning and the arbitrary management of the scheme that have crippled the potentially valuable measure to provide sustenance to the rural poor. He also censured the administration for not clearing the mandatory unemployment allowance to registered job card holders under NREGA.
2015 Kashmir Despatch