Apex court pulls up Orissa on rural job scheme

Thursday, December 16, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Thursday asked the Orissa government why a CBI probe should not be ordered into the alleged diversion of central funds meant for rural jobs.

Even as the court issued a show cause notice to the state, Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaisingh said that New Delhi had already asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to look into the diversion of funds under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA).

Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar asked the Orissa government why the implementation of the operational guidelines under NREGA should not be made mandatory.

The state was asked to be ready with the answer at the next hearing.

The directions came in the wake of Jaisingh telling the court that the central government was struggling to implement the guidelines under NREGA as there was resistance from the state governments.

Appearing for a petitioner NGO, senior counsel Prashant Bhushan told the court that the guidelines provided for various officers to deal with different aspects of NREGA, including the social audit of the rural job scheme.

The petitioner has alleged irregularities in the implementation of the rural job scheme.

Bhushan said that state governments were not enforcing these guidelines.

He also told the court that another area of problem was the processing of the applications by the new job applicants.

At this, Chief Justice Kapadia said that for now the court would only address the issue of diversion of funds.

Jaisingh told the court that there were over 115 million job card holders under the NREGA and wages of 82 percent of them were credited in banks and post offices.

She told the court that monitoring payments in post office accounts was posing problems as these were manually handled. The court was told that 11 lakh bogus job cards were cancelled in Orissa alone.

Filed under: Court, Immigration

will not be displayed