ANANTAPUR: No social audit was held for two years in Anantapur district with regard to MGNREGS, though it was mandatory to be held every eight months. The Covid pandemic was cited as the reason. MGNREGS is a boon to the drought-prone district, which has been witnessing large-scale migration of people in search of employment. There are complaints of large-scale irregularities and the social audit now being conducted is expected to bring out the facts.
As per records, for 2019-20, under MGNREGS, 1.88 crore man-days were provided and Rs 601.42 crore was spent in the district, and in 2020-21, it was 2.8 crore man-days with an outlay of Rs 1,018 crore. The expenditure and works executed are normally observed by SAT (Social Audit Teams) and reported to the government.
However, complaints have been made against a few persons for alleged irregularities in the implementation of the rural job guarantee scheme. It was alleged that the accused are now trying to cover up the irregularities with help of ruling party leaders in the district.
According to the complainants, musters were created with fictitious names of job card holders and fake bills were produced to corner money. Further, works done previously were allegedly shown as new works to create bills and get money. Such irregularities were reported to have taken place in the MGNREGS works done for horticulture plantations.
Some of those complaints in Mudigubba mandal were proved true and a few NREGS staff and an MPDO were jailed. It is being suspected that embezzlement of funds could be in several lakhs. Fear tactics are being reportedly adopted to silence the voices of job card holders during gram sabhas held as part of social audit.
According to sources, out of 63 mandals in the district, social auditing has been completed in seven and currently it is being carried out in four mandals. In remaining mandals of the district, it is expected to be completed by the end of March. Social Audit Teams visit villages and conduct gram sabhas to audit the works executed and receive objections and suggestions.
A mandal-level meeting will be held at the end of all gram sabhas, where anyone can lodge a complaint. “Social auditing is under progress. Those resorted to irregularities will not be spared. We are expecting to get a clear picture by the end of the current fiscal,” DWMA project director Venugopal Reddy said.