Sharpening his attack on Uttar Pradesh government for alleged irregularities in MGNREGA, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said instead of taking action it is “patronising the guilty officials.”

“It is not just that the U.P. government did not take required action in connection with discrepancies in the implementation of MGNREGA, but it is also patronising the guilty officials,” the Minister for Rural Development told reporters.

Reiterating his demand for a CBI inquiry into the alleged embezzlement of funds in the Centre’s flagship programme, Mr. Ramesh said he had written five letters and also met Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and his predecessor Mayawati to point out that the scheme had not been implemented in the manner it should have been, but no action was taken.

“The discrepancies have been found by the State government inquiry teams but it is unfortunate that the action which needed to be taken against the guilty officials and representatives have not been taken,” Mr. Ramesh said, noting that the government did not give permission for the CBI inquiry.

Voicing his anger over the issue, Mr. Ramesh quipped that sometimes he thinks of stopping funds to the State but feels that people should not be made to suffer for government apathy.

“The scheme should have been particularly beneficial for Uttar Pradesh had it been implemented properly,” the Union Minister said, lamenting that women participation in the State was hardly 30 per cent while it was 85 per cent in Tamil Nadu, 90 per cent in Kerala and 75 per cent in Rajasthan.

The Union Minister, who was in the State to create awareness about the Land Acquisition Bill, recently passed by Parliament, said the proposed legislation is a milestone of the UPA government.

Stressing that the timing of the legislation has got nothing to do with Lok Sabha elections, Mr. Ramesh, however, said his party would definitely inform the people that how this act would safeguard the interests of farmers.

He said the Bill will be sent to President on Monday for approval.

He expressed confidence that with the new legislation land-related agitations in different States would come down and farmers’ interests would be safeguarded.