Monday, August 30, 2010

E India Reports.....MGNREGA in Dungarpur, Rajasthan under scanner

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Wall Painting of MGNREGS :Its importance and my Experiences

• Poor illiterate rural people do not know how to apply for information under RTI. More over sarpanchs and sachivs even BDOs also do not want to give any information of NREGS to the people

• NREGS has not been run as demand driven programme. Initially blank muster rolls were issued. Prapatra-6 had been a post dated paper formality. Many politically active people who actually did not work in the field also got there name written on the muster roll and had taken payment.

• These people who take payment without doing work are generally vocal and politically active ones they do not let people work in groups. Though there is state govt order that the group system of working, measurement and payment should be followed strictly it is found all over Dungarpur dist that this order is never followed. Though some times labourers are divided in to groups and when an Officer visits and finds them working in groups the payment is not as per different task rates to different groups. The JEn s have determined same task to all the labourers at a place. I have till date checked more than 200 work files of more than 45 villages and no where did I find this order to have been followed even on a single muster roll. These politically active people who take payment without working in the field actually get their name written on the muster roll ensure that group system is not followed and some times create law and order problem like rasta jams and gheraos and Administration comes under their pressure and gives equal and enhanced rate to all. As a result there had been almost 70% leakage in the earth work and the labourers who used to work initially also stopped working.

• When we tried to implement the govt. order regarding wall painting except 4 or 5 secretaries and sarpanchs all secretaries and sarpanchs resisted it.

• The order of the District Coordinator NREGS was to get it written on outside walls of schools/panchayats/community centers etc and take certificate from all the secretaries and PO's. On the basis of those certificates we had given certificate to chief secretary in this regard. Gradually through my tours and night halts. I found that the information that have been furnished on the wall paintings are in accurate and incomplete. Those are not matching with Rojgar registers. The omissions were mostly intentional. The names that they leave out in the wall painting were generally those persons who have migrated out or who generally do not work in field and get payment. I took disciplinary actions against some secretaries and also against two BDO's in my Ratri Choupals and tours . Generally I constituted teams for verifying all the names and payments according to Rojgar register in a particular Gram Panchayat. Gradually the information furnished on wall painting became authentic.

• In one panchayat Parda Etivar I got a complaint from a school student that the secretary is erasing the wall painting and rewriting. I reached immediately in the evening and conducted inquiry. There were some dominant and politically active groups who did not work in field but took payment. They were annoyed that their names were appearing on the wall. They had put pressure on the secretary to erase their names.

I got all the names and payments rewritten as per Rojgar register. I left the secretary with warning. Poor people who work very hard yet do not get proper task according to their work also could know the reason for not getting just and proper rate.

• Wall paintings have developed pressure on sarpanchs, sachivs and other politicians from the side of the poor and marginalized section of rural populace. Corrupt Sarpanchs and Sachivs are mending their ways under this pressure.

• Wall paintings have induced a sort of auto correction in the rural politics. The dominant caste and class of rural people who are politically active and get payments by getting their names written in muster rolls get insulted automatically when they find their names written on wall painting and become less vocal and do not disturb the ongoing works and group system.Other wise these people were responsible for disturbing the group system of works, measurement and payment.

• There was even more resistance against writing consumption details of materials in wall painting. Despite whole hearted effort from my side I could not get this information written, for initial three months. After panchayat election I got most of this information written on wall painting.

• The information regarding details of work on work site boards/ tree guards are even now in complete. For this resistance is the maximum. How ever most of the sarpanchs and secretaries are now a days following my orders because I have conducted inquires against works of many secretaries and sarpanchs for recoveries and reports are ready for FIR.

• Wall paintings of labour and material both have demoralized most of the corrupt sachivs and sarpanchs and are mending their ways.

• Gramsabha is attracting crowds now a day. In many panchayats gram sabha was merely a formality. Wall painting has encouraged many educated villagers to participate in the meeting. When people came to know that so much money has been spent, despite so many trips of Grevals and rolling the greval roads constructed are non motorable and development works are not visible in the field people have started taking interest in Gramsabha.

• Work site board/Tree guard having information about details of work on its wall is very important because it has potential to improve the quality of the works radically. People have started demanding good quality of works.

• Order regarding standing committee for payment of material and tender at panchayat samity level has improved the system radically.

• Just few weeks back the sarpanchs and sachivs were united against me. They had given ultimatum to the state govt for removal of me as district collector of Dungarpur if not removed they would boycott all NREGS works. These were those sarpanchs and sachivs who were affraid of impending heavy recoveries and FIRs. The wall paintings of labour, payments, Material consumptions and payments, The work site boards etc have made the things quite transparent. Heavy recoveries from some sarpanchs were also in public knowledge. Many people started supporting me. Almost there was a kind of mass movement against the demand of these sarpanchs and sachivs. The sahayak sachivs who were less involved in NREGS corruption except very few of them also came to my support. Finally the sarpanchs and sachivs withdrew their ultimatum and few politicians who were behind them also withdrew support. Sharing of more information with common man through wall paintings about NREGS has intensified the movement against corruption in NREGS. Even the most corrupt sarpanchs and sachivs are falling in line.

Media Reports.....

The Tribune News Clipping
Date May, 10, 2010