In PM Narendra Modi’s home state Gujarat, a huge scam involving dead men being paid wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has come to the fore.
According to the latest MGNREGA records, payments were made in the name of construction workers who died at a MGNREGA site years ago, in the name of an army man and some teachers who passed away a long time back.
“On paper, many of these men were receiving payment till April 2020, though they died long ago. Even during the lockdown, the BJP-led state government allotted work to dead men under the scheme. Imagine the level of corruption,” said Vadnagar MLA Jignesh Mevani, who exposed the scam.
Two days ago, he along with working president of Gujarat Congress, Hardik Patel addressed a presser also.
Mevani told NH that in Balundra village of Amirgadh taluka in district Banaskantha, wages were being paid to at least five men who died between 2016–2019.
“A payment of Rs 900 per week was issued in the name of dead men till April 2020,” he said adding that a similar scam was busted in Balundra village located at the border of Gujarat and Rajasthan.
“It is a pan-state scam where dummy job cards were made in the name of dead people, and government officials under the watch of the BJP government stole money sent for the poor people,” said Mevani, demanding arrest of those who have been involved in the corruption.
Expressing his anguish over police inaction, Mevani said over the phone that though an FIR was lodged with relation to the scam, no one has been arrested so far.
“It is not about the money only…Rights to livelihood provided by the Constitution is being taken away by the nexus of corrupt officials and political leaders enjoying direct patronage from the top BJP leaders,” said Mavani.
Kiran Parmar, a local activist, was quoted as saying by the local media, “It is possible that job cards were created in their names without their knowledge to steal government money”.