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A Mega Scam is snowballing at Rupaichari Block
Biswanath Bhattacharya
A Mega Scam is snowballing at Rupaichari Block
PHOTO : A sample of MGNREGA Scam at Matabari block...signboard says road built but jungle behind. TIWN Pic

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

― Carl Sagan

A BDO of a district (say X) goes to the office of his counterpart (say Y) and the Y invites X home for dinner, X was very impressed by the lavish mansion, grounds and the costly furnishings.

He asked, "How can you afford all this on a meagre BDO’s salary. In your block only Rs.  17...00 crores of MGNREGA has been looted?”

Y smiled knowingly and took him to the window.

"Can you see the river?"

"Yes"
"Can you see the bridge over it?"

"Of course", said X.

"50 percent of MGNREGA fund", said Y smugly.

Sometime later, Y had occasion to pay a return visit. X lavished all hospitality on him. When they came to his house, Y was stunned by the huge palace the Y had built, glittering with precious art, hundreds of servants etc. etc.

"How can you possibly afford this, on a salary of a poor BDO," he asked.

X called him to the window.

"See the river over there?"

"Sure", cried the senator.

"Can you see the bridge over it?"

Y looked, was confused, peered closely and said, "No, I don't see any bridge."

"100 percent of MGNREGA ", said the X !!

Though the story is hypothetical one, no novice will miss which two blocks are being referred to.

Actually, the incidents of unbridled corruption has invaded almost every department of the state of Tripura. While the scam at Bishalgar block is topping the list due to media glare, the way things are unfolding it may not take a very long time that Rupaichari Block shall hog the limelight and that too for infamous reasons very soon. If the website information is to be believed, adjustments involving crores of Rural Development fund are pending with the Implementing Officers (IOs) since 2008 in Rupaichari Block.

 The financial propriety demands that the detailed expenditure statement (popularly called as adjustment) for advance made to the implementing officer meant for execution of any project should be submitted by 30 days of the implantation of the project to the block authority and the block authority in turn shall submit the Detailed Countersigned Contingency (DCC) Bill to the district authority who shall submit such bills to the Accountant General for its scrutiny. If the submission of the adjustment is not done within the prescribed period, there is every reason to believe that the IO under reference is not submitting this adjustment with some ulterior motive. And this non-submission of bill warrants the block authority to conduct detailed enquiry and initiate disciplinary proceeding against the IO. Now since some IOs are not submitting adjustment since 2008 (I have lost count of days- is it 2500 days or more) at Rupaichari Block, it can be safely presumed that the money meant for alleviation of property has been misappropriated.

And this misappropriation or defalcation, whatever you say, is not possible without taking the superior officers and public representatives into connivance.

Unfortunately, this unheard of siphoning of precious central and state funds has been done keeping the state machinery headed by Shri Manik Sarkar popularly known as the cleanest Chief Minister in deep slumber! A captain is as good as his team, runs the adage. And, therefore, the Chief Minister can in no way absolve his responsibility. A case of prima facie corruption has been made, the air is thick with rumours, stories of looting of state exchequer is doing the rounds and the cahoots of the Government machinery are busy shielding their captains. What a leader and what a state! 

Actually there appears no monitoring in execution of the projects! Had there been close monitoring, the IOs could have never dared to sleep with the public money for so long a period. Every month – almost routinely- there is a evaluation of Rural Development programs be it namesake. Therefore, the Government can never say that it was unaware of this rampant mind boggling corruption. Public money appears to have been looted taking the highest echelons in confidence!

The incidents of corruption that are appearing in the newspapers and the social websites and elsewhere are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg. More is hidden inside. Scams after scams are surfacing in the kingdom of the cleanest Chief Minister!  And the poorest chief Minister is appeared to be ensuring that the inhabitants of the state are also made poorest in the country. Is there any medal for being the chief minister of the poorest inhabitants? 

If there is any, nobody can beat Tripura – it shall bag the laurels keeping other states miles behind. How unfortunate we are !!!     

Mr Biswanath Bhattacharya is an eminent writer based in Agartala, Political Analyst, Retd Joint Secretary, Govt. of  Tripura

 
This article also published in Facebook www.facebook.com/tripurainfoway simultaneously

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