SHILLONG, June 27 – In another case of alleged fraud during implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in Meghalaya, a father-son duo duped gullible villagers in the name of implementation of the Central scheme.
The matter came to light after villagers from Thadan village, 40 km from here, got wind of the scam and filed a Right To Information (RTI) application which showed their names enlisted as workers having job cards.
Louis Lyngdoh, Sirdar (village chief) and his son Charling Nongspung “self-elected” themselves as the Village Employment Council (VEC) chairman and secretary respectively and forged the signatures of about 34, including four dead, villagers in the job cards.
“We don’t have the job card, but still our names were enlisted as job card holders. This, we came to know after filing a RTI application,” one of the villagers, Salwin Nongspung said.
He added, the MGNREGS was meant for construction of a footpath worth Rs 11.37 lakh. The villagers who are primarily agriculturists said the Central scheme is a major source of income for them during lean agriculture seasons.
After the villagers filed the RTI application and confronted Lyngdoh and his son with the findings, both termed the path adopted by them as “childish.”
“The VEC was formed without our knowledge and the proposal to construct footpaths was not with our consent,” the villagers said.
They stated the VEC should have instead proposed for construction of ponds, which would have supplemented their livelihood. “At a meeting held last year, we were threatened by the Sirdar,” the Thadan villagers claimed.
Interestingly, Thadan is close to Jongksha village which made the headlines last year after three women – Fatima Mynsong, Aquiline Songthiang and Matilda Suting – were ostracised by the village head after the trio exposed a similar scam by filing RTI.
“We want the government to take action against the guilty or we would be compelled to file an FIR against the father-son duo,” the villagers asserted.