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No irregularity found in social audit
November, 18th 2010

The social audit reports an integrated part of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) has so far cited no irregularities in Porbandar district. This, even as a few individuals have blown the lid off a Rs 1 crore scam in a couple of villages in the district.

The NREGA official website says 44 social audits have been done in the district, including the scam-hit villages of Kotda and Katvana. Social audits have been done in these villages twice a year. So far, no irregularities have come up in the audit reports, said J H Trivedi, Director, District Rural Development Authority (DRDA), Porbandar.

In Kotda village, misappropriation to the tune of Rs 95 lakh came to light after an inquisitive paanwala looked for details of the scheme on Internet search engine Google. Doctors, teachers, government employees, Non-Resident Indians, physically challenged persons and even the deceased were mentioned as NREGS cardholders. The accused duo sarpanch Bhima Modha and local post officer in-charge Ramdev Odedara had in the last three years, opened up accounts in the post-office in the names of the cardholders and siphoned off money.

A case in this connection was registered against the accused on November 3. In Katvana village, too a similar scam was unearthed.

Incidentally, the social audits at both the villages had found nothing amiss.

According to NREGA, the social audit teams local volunteers who are being trained and paid token salary should conduct door-to -door surveys, and a social audit forum should be conducted in the gram sabha once every six months in the presence of all the representatives. Being the village head, the sarpanch should monitor and sign the final report.

Trivedi said they have trained 12 teams per taluka for audit work, adding that the fault lies with the villagers for not highlighting the irregularities at the time of audits. The social audits of all three years show nothing irregular, which simply means that the villagers have never raised their voice, he said.

He, however, added that DRDA will initiate action against the talati mantri and the sarpanch. We have cancelled 73 job cards in Kotda village, which preliminary investigations revealed, were issued in the names of government employees and other professionals, said Trivedi.

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