Exposing fund ‘misuse’ costs villagers dearly

Locals abandon Nongpyrdi village after being ‘attacked’

SHILLONG, June 18: An RTI which reportedly unearthed ‘misappropriation’ of funds in Nongpyrdi village, Mawkynrew Subdivision, in East Khasi Hills has cost few villagers dearly to the point where they had to abandon their village after being ‘attacked’ for filing the RTI.
According to these villagers, they had filed an RTI on the integrated watershed management programme and discerned that the former Headmen of the village, Master Nongrum, had received lakhs of rupees to implement the project, which, however, did not exist.
Few of the villagers even claimed that they were summoned by the former Rangbah Shnong and were handed over money for the scheme.
However, he summoned them again the next morning to take back the amount given to the earlier stating that there was a mistake.
“We were sitting in our kitchen at around 9.30, one person came inside and started threatening me,” a villager Ribor Mynsong said, while adding that he was accused of defaming the Ex-Rangbah Shnong and trying to snatch the individual scheme.
Recalling that a villager was even assaulted, Mynsong said that he was so terrified by the manner in which the person threatened him that he spent the night in the jungle fearing trouble.
“The Ex-Rangbah Shnong claimed that he has implemented all the schemes properly. But his claim is not true since none of the schemes were implemented in a proper manner whether it is a scheme for construction of toilets or schemes under MGNREGA,” he added.
Mynsong, who with few others had filed an FIR at Madanryting police station, said, “I know there is a law and if I am wrong then let them punish me. We will continue to find out how the schemes in the village are being implemented.”
Yet another woman of the same village, who did not wish to be named, said that she was also summoned by the then Rangbah Shnong and handed an amount for the scheme, which was taken back from her the very next day calling it a mistake.
She claimed that there are many others in the village who have gone through the same situation.
President of the Hynniewtrep National Youth Movement (HNYM), Louis Dohtdong, who has been assisting the villagers, said, “They have threatened the life of the people. We strongly condemn this threatening of people who are trying to find out how the government schemes are being implemented.”
“People now are feeling unsafe after Ribor Mynsong was threatened by one Dailangki Saio. He is the person of Master Nongrum, since he had blamed Bah Thrip that he was the one who defamed Master Nongrum,” he said.
He further said, “We want to know (about) watershed programmes for the year 2011-2012. We want the officials to go for a spot inspection and send its officers to find out if the claim of Master Nongrum and his group that the programme has been implemented successfully (is true).”
Earlier, the ex-headman of Nongpyrdi, Master Nongrum, and the beneficiaries had clarified that many had benefitted from the water shed projects in the area under Mawkynrew Block.
However, the findings of the RTI query included that under the programme, from 2011-12 to 2019-20, Rs 13.53 lakh was sanctioned for various projects which are being implemented by the Soil and Water Conservation department.

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