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VEC members file plaint against substandard projects in WGH

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From Our Correspondent

TURA, June 26: Job card holders and the headman of Bhangarpar ngarpar under Demdema C&RD Block have written to the BDO seeking an investigation into the alleged substandard execution of projects by the VEC functionaries responsible for the village’s projects.
Furthermore, the job card holders have demanded the conduct of elections for the VEC, which has reportedly been operating with the same functionaries for the past six years. They have approached the High Court over the issue, with a hearing scheduled for July 11 next month.
In their complaint, the villagers highlighted at least 10 projects within the village that were supposedly completed by the VEC president and secretary but have already begun to deteriorate at their foundations. The total cost of just these projects that have been complained about exceeds Rs 70 lakh. All the project work orders were issued for the year 2023-24 under MGNREGA.
“All projects undertaken during the past six years are questionable, but we have highlighted only a few notable ones,” the complaint stated.
The complaint specifically mentioned five culverts within the village, one of which was constructed at a substantial cost of Rs 17 lakh. The culvert, which was supposed to be built using stronger materials (16 mm rods), was instead constructed with lower-dimension iron rods (8 and 10 mm). As a result, according to the villagers, all of these culverts have already developed faults and cracks.
Additionally, there are three motorable roads with interlocking and two retaining walls, all of which, according to the complainants, are of extremely poor quality and do not meet the standards for the sanctioned project amounts.
“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 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 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 of the same story, the reluctance of the C&RD officials to hold elections to the VEC forced the members to approach the High Court of Meghalaya.
“The continuation in office, without elections for the past six years by the same office bearers, has led to this corruption. We have approached the High Court in the matter and await a decision on July 11. Earlier, the HC 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 three 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 from both the state and local administration.

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