Monday, May 10, 2010

Vigilance probe not enough: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today demanded the appointment of fully-empowered ombudsmen in all districts to go into irregularities in NREGS implementation in all districts.

The Lok Satta Party was reacting to the Chief Minister’s directive to the Vigilance Department to probe into allegations of NREGS irregularities in Srikakulam district.

Talking to the media, Lok Satta Party leaders Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao, Mr. Bheesetti Babji, Mr. V.Lakshman Balaji, Mr.V.Vijayender Reddy said that reports of irregularities have been pouring in from all districts and not merely from Srikakulam. By limiting the inquiry to Srikakulam district and that too works in the Revenue Minister’s constituency, the Chief Minister seemed to be minimizing the gravity and magnitude of the problem.

The Lok Satta leaders recalled that the Government had already issued an order for appointment of ombudsmen in all districts. Ombudsmen appointed according to the order would be toothless in that they would go into irregularities thrown up by social audits only.

The Lok Satta leaders said that the proposed ombudsmen should be empowered to probe into instances of corruption and irregularities in all schemes at the local government level and not limited to NREGS irregularities.

Pointing out that around Rs.2000 crore a year is being spent directly at the district level under various Government schemes, the Lok Satta leaders underlined the need to curb irregularities and corruption in all the schemes executed at the local level.

The ombudsmen should be empowered to act upon complaints, undertake investigations suo motu, and initiate punitive action against both officials and elected people’s representatives.

The Lok Satta leaders also suggested that the proposed ombudsmen should enjoy the rank, salary, allowances and privileges of a sitting district judge.

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