NREGS funds misused in Gujarat

State admits violations of the legislation


Danish Raza | February 18, 2010

In a clear violation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), which calls for the construction of permanent structures, the Gujarat government has built boribunds (temporary structures to block the runoff of water) in the state at the cost of Rs 109 crore.

Gujarat chief minister’s office gave this information in response to an RTI application filed by Ahmedabad-based social activist Bharatsinh Jhala. He had sought details of the regulations released by the state government on the construction of boribunds.

According to the state government, the boribunds were created to implement the August 17, 2009 order of chief minister Narendra Modi. In the order, conveyed through video conferencing, Modi had asked all the state collectors to build two lakh boribunds within 30 days under the NREGS.

This is a violation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, according to which the public work should be discussed in the gram panchayat and a district level officer should do the budgeting.

That's not all. In this case, instead of providing employment to the rural populace the work was handed over to the forest department and non-government organisations.

More than 5,000 boribunds have been created in 12 talukas in the state utilising the finds from the NREGS.

What's more, in many of the boribunds, plastic bags were used which tore within the first few days.

Jhala has now filed a complaint with the ministry of rural development.



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