Job cards issued under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act outnumber the population (according to the 2011 Census) in 760 out of the 5,621 gram panchayats in the State. In Gulbarga district, the number of job cards exceeds the population in 100 out of the 220 GPs.The fake job cards have been detected by officials in the Commissionerate of Rural Development that oversees implementation of the MNREGA in the State.

The commissionerate had directed chief executive officers (CEOs) of zilla panchayats to constitute special teams to detect fake job cards in their districts. They have been told to cancel such cards and initiate action against officials responsible for creating them. The process, however, has been stalled as officials are busy with election work, sources said.

The Commissionerate had also directed zilla panchayat CEOs to verify the claims of works executed by GPs that had spent more than Rs. 50 lakh under the MNREGA last year and also those that had created 25,000 man-days. As many as 723 GPs had claimed creating 25,000 man-days, including 39 in Gulbarga district.

Zilla panchayat CEOs have filed criminal cases against panchayat development officers and other officials (who have been suspended) and presidents of 64 GPs, including seven in Gulbarga district, for alleged misuse of MNREGA funds, sources said.

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