D. Chandra Bhaskar Rao

SATHUPALLI (Khammam dt): An exercise taken for a detailed impact analysis on the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) in the district helped in bringing to light certain slip-ups in its implementation. For the first time serious manipulation of the musters of the wage seekers was observed in the villages of Vemsoor mandal, which in fact had the credit executing the best works.

A social audit was conducted in Vemsoor involving some 800 wage seekers, sarpanches of 19 gram panchayats and representatives of the agencies engaged in the implementation. The session could help stimulate a serious open discussion on the role of the field assistants. Some of them were found to be drawing wages on benami wage seekers. Five of them had confessed to have tampered with the musters. One of the field assistants had committed to this effect in writing in a bid to save his skin and assured the officials to pay back Rs. 1.19 lakhs by the month end. Five of the field assistants were removed from service with the consent of the village bodies.

The Additional Project Director (EGS) Jagat Kumar Reddy could recover part of the wages thus drawn by some of the field assistants. He wrote to the collector proposing action against an errant technical assistant. Some of the sarpanches of gram panchayats proved to have played an equally disruptive role.

It was revealed that the post office pass books of a good number of wage seekers had for a long time been in possession of a sarpanch. They were handed over to the genuine holders only a day before the social audit.

A sum of Rs 2.77 crores was spent on the implementation of the programme in the district. The gram panchayats of Marlapadu and Ramannapalem had accounted for serious lapses and misuse of huge funds.