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Odisha NREGA irregularities : Action initiated against two IAS officers


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 27:

The state government has initiated action against two IAS officers for their alleged involvement in the much-talked-about irregularities in the ongoing Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme in Odisha’s Nuapada district.

The Panchayati Raj department, on receipt of the clarifications from these two IAS officers over charges of irregularities committed at their end, has recommended action against them to the General Administration department, official sources said.

Odisha GovtIt may be mentioned here that the Supreme Court had ordered CBI probe into the said irregularities on the basis of the CAG report in 2009.

The CBI, in its report had recommended action against these two IAS officers who were former collectors of Nuapada—Mrilalini Darswal and Janaki Ballav Mishra—to the state government.

Before initiating departmental action against these two senior officials, the General Administration department had sought their clarifications.

On receipt of their clarifications, secretary, Panchayati Raj Deoranjan Singh has apprised the General Administration department of his observations in a letter.

As per the report, Darswal, during her tenure as collector of Nuapada had utilized Rs 2,53,588 from the District Contingency Fund (DCF) towards development of the garden at the Collector’s residential quarters. Later, her successor Janaki Ballav Mishra had compensated the amount from the surplus fund of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA).

Prior to this, the Union Rural Development Ministry, in a letter to the state government on March 30, 2007 had made it clear that MGNREGA fund can not be utilized tfor any civil work.

While the development of the garden at the Collector’s official residence was undertaken during 2007-08, Mishra, during his tenure as the collector from April 29, 2011 to August 1, 2012, had compensated the DCF fund from the MGNREGA fund after the CAG report.

Taking note of the illegal withdrawal of money in gross violation of the directive of the ministry, the CBI later recommended disciplinary action against both the former collectors to the state government.

While Darswal is presently on a Central deputation, Mishra is currently posted as the additional secretary to the Governor at Raj Bhawan in Bhubaneswar.