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DC’s order giving relief to VEC heads irks FKJGP, villagers

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Misuse of MGNREGS fund at Larnai village in West Jaintia Hills

JOWAI: The Federation of Khasi Jaintia and Garo People (FKJGP), Thadlaskein Circle, and residents of Larnai village in West Jaintia Hills have expressed unhappiness over two orders issued by the West Jaintia Hills Deputy Commissioner cum District Programme Coordinator, District Rural Development Agency against the Chairman and Secretary of Larnai Village Employment Council (VEC).

The FKJGP and the villagers have separately written to the Deputy Commissioner to protest the second order issued against ‘tainted Secretary’ Philanda Lamare and Chairman Augustre Lamare of the VEC.

FKJGP circle president, Damian War, said that the District Programme Coordinator, DRDA, should stick with the first order issued based on the finding of the magisterial enquiry and not with the second order issued after another inquiry conducted by the Block Development Officer.

It was in November 2013 that the VEC Secretary and the VEC Chairman, who is also the Rangbah Shnong, were accused of allegedly misappropriating funds sanctioned for development project such as construction of internal road, construction of drinking wells and construction of footpath besides others within Larnai village.

The Deputy Commissioner ordered a probe into the allegation, following which the inquiry officer observed that all allegations against the chairman and the secretary of the VEC were true.

The inquiry report revealed that VEC members T. Nongrum, O. Shadap, S. War and S. Rymbai had received amounts of Rs.3,69,400, Rs.1,64,100, Rs.27,000 and Rs.80, 000 respectively. However, Nongrum, who is not listed as a supplier, claimed that he did not receive any money, whereas, War and Rymbai claimed to have received some amount for material cost but not the amount as quoted in the APRs (Actual Payments Receipts).

Shadap, later, tried to defend the VEC chairman and the secretary by changing his statement he had recorded earlier with the inquiry officer.

Based on the inquiry report, the allegation against the chairman and secretary, Larnai VEC were found to be valid and justifiable after which the DC removed them from their posts.

The DC also directed them to refund the sum of Rs.6,40,500 within three months.

Instead of complying with the order, the VEC chairman and secretary wrote to the DC requesting to re-examine the development work implemented in the village. The DC again ordered another inquiry which was conducted by the BDO. Based on the inquiry report of the BDO, the DC issued a fresh order that the VEC secretary and chairman should refund the amount of Rs.3,30,700 instead of Rs.6,40,500 mentioned in the first order.

“We believe that the VEC secretary and the chairman are misleading the BDO and the Office of the DRDA. We therefore demand that the DC should strictly stick to the first order,” the FKJGP said.

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