Thursday, July 18, 2024

Bangarpar VEC members file complaint against sub-standard construction of projects


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Biplab Kr Dey

Tura, June 26: Job card holders as well as the headman of the village of Bhangarpar under Demdema C&RD Block have written to the BDO seeking an investigation into what they termed as sub standard execution of projects by the VEC functionaries who undertook the projects for the village.

Further the job card holders have also demanded the conduct of elections to the VEC which apparently has been running the show for the past 6 years with the same functionaries. They have approached the HC over the issue with a hearing slated for Jul 11, next month.

In their complaint the villagers pointed to at least 10 projects within the village that were apparently completed by the VEC president and secretary which have already started breaking apart at its foundation. The total cost of just these projects that have been complained about, goes beyond Rs 70 lakhs.  All the project work orders were for the year 2023-24 under MGNREGA.

“All projects done during the past 6 years are under question but we have highlighted just a few notable ones,” stated the complaint.

The complaint pointed to 5 culverts within the village, one of which was built at a staggering Rs 17 lakhs. The culvert, which was supposed to have used stronger materials (16 mm rods) was done using lower dimension iron rods (8 and 10 mm). The result – as per the villagers is that all of these have already developed faults and cracks.

Further there are three jeepable roads with interlocking and two retaining walls, all of which, according to the complainants, are of extremely poor quality and not up to the amount that has been sanctioned for these projects.

“We have raised serious concerns regarding the quality of these constructions. Several RCC culverts have developed cracks, indicating poor construction quality. The interlocking jeepable roads have been constructed with substandard materials, resulting in rapid deterioration. There has been a lack of oversight and lack of site visits, which has led to the destruction of public property and a significant loss of public funds,” stated the complaint.

The villagers, through the complaint, have asked for a thorough investigation to assess the adherence to the estimated specifications and to hold accountable those responsible for the poor quality of work.

“If no action is taken, we will be compelled to escalate this matter to higher authorities to ensure that public money is utilized effectively and public infrastructure is built to last,” they informed.

In a separate part to the same story, the reluctance of the C&RD officials to hold elections to the VEC forced the members to approach the Meghalaya High Court.

“The continuation in office, without elections for the past 6 years by the same office bearers has led to this corruption. We have approached the HC in the matter and await a decision on Jul 11. Earlier the HC has made observations in the case and asked for affidavits from the VEC office bearers.

MGNREGA guidelines state that elections to select new officials need to be undertaken every 3 years and this was reiterated by the WGH DC earlier this year as well. However, for some inexplicable reason, the Demdema C&RD Block has been reluctant to follow orders by the state as well as local administration.


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