Agartala: Former Tripura chief minister and CPI (M) leader Manik Sarkar on Saturday alleged that the BJP-led government in the state has “failed” to improve the livelihood of poor people as the ruling party leaders at the grassroots are “siphoning off funds” under a rural employment scheme.
Sarkar, the leader of opposition in the state assembly, accused the government of not conducting social audits of works under the MGNREGA scheme regularly.
“The Centre has revealed that it did not find a money trail of around Rs 485 crore meant for the national job generation programme in the last fiscal,” he said during a mass deputation programme organised by Ganamukti Parisad (GMP) and Tribal Youth Federation (TYF), two frontal organisations of the CPI(M).
“During the Left Front regime in Tripura, social audit of MGNREGA works was a regular practice but it has become irregular in the current dispensation,” Sarkar claimed.
The CPI(M) leader also said if this is the state of affairs, how will poor people, who are heavily dependent on MGNREGA and other development works, survive? A job card holder receives 20-25 man-days, while each person used to get 80-85 man-days during the Left Front rule, he said.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA) is aimed at enhancing the livelihood security of households in rural areas of the country by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year.
“There are people who get 100 man-days without doing any work! More than 50 per cent of the MGNREGA fund is being looted by persons associated with the BJP’s local committees. These saffron party panels insert 35-40 fake beneficiaries in the muster roll of each gram panchayat or village committee to siphon off money. These irregularities must be stopped,” Sarkar alleged.
BJP vice president and MP Rebati Tripura denied the charges related to the rural employment scheme.
“Being an MP, I hold review meetings on MGNREGA and other development works in three districts. I have not seen any corruption in the scheme. The state generated an average of 60-65 man-days in each district while job generation in Dhalai is more,” he said.
Sarkar also alleged that Tipra Motha, a regional party, captured the tribal council last year by “raising a slogan of Greater Tipraland, just the way the BJP-IPFT had won the 2018 Assembly elections by befooling the voters”.
“The Tipra Motha wants to create a division between tribal and non-tribal people to weaken the unity. They think if tribal and non-tribal citizens remain together, it will give an edge to the Left movement in the state. That’s why Tipra Motha has been making an attempt to create a division,” he added.
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