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Sulking Maya complains against Jairam to PM

Last updated on: October 28, 2011 19:39 IST

Sulking Maya complains against Jairam to PM

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Sharat Pradhan in Lucknow

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati on Friday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, complaining against Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh, who has levelled serious allegations of large scale irregularities in the execution of various schemes under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Area (MNREGA) program in her state.

Accusing Jairam of making a mountain out of a molehill, she has sought to draw the prime minister's attention to the minister's bid to generalise some information he had gathered from a Chitrakoot based NGO.

"It was strange that the Union minister chose to draw his conclusions on the basis of feedback limited to just seven districts in a state which has as many as 75 districts," state Cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh told a press conference he addressed on behalf of the chief minister in Lucknow.

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Photographs: Reuters
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He said, "Even with reference to the seven districts mentioned in the Union minister's letter, the chief minister has clarified that departmental proceedings have already been initiated against six chief development officers (CDOs), seven project directors, 28 block development officers (BDO) and more than 40 field level officials."

Singh went on to add, "These include 27 Class I officers, 38 Class II officers and 69 Class III employees together with 236 field level smaller functionaries.

As many as 71 FIRs have been lodged with the police in all cases of financial irregularities and a sum of Rs 54 lakh (Rs 5.4 million) has already been recovered from the culprits while proceedings for further recovery of Rs 1.31 crore (Rs 13.1 million) were underway."

Reacting sharply to the Union minister's threat to stop funds to UP, Mayawati has stated in her letter to the prime minister, "It only highlights his lack of understanding of the fiscal federalism inherent in our Constitution."

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Photographs: Reuters
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Sulking Maya complains against Jairam to PM

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She has urged the prime minister to "apprise the Union minister of the Centre-State fiscal arrangements provided in the Constitution so that he could realize that the funds released to the state for various schemes such as MNREGS are not a largesse bestowed by the centre but a firm part of the revenue sharing mechanism under our Federal system."

She has even gone to the extent of charging Jairam Ramesh with a "colonial hangover."

Vehemently refuting Ramesh's charge of "sub-standard work", she hits out at him by adding, "It is quite obvious that Mr. Jairam Ramesh has a pre-conceived agenda and has arrived at conclusions without taking cognizance of the various steps taken by my government for ensuring an effective implementation of the said scheme."

Mayawati has further sought to point out that UP was among the first few states in the country "to not only enhance the minimum wage with effect from 2008 but to also build a system of payment of wages only through banks or post-offices, only with a view to preventing any pilferage."

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Photographs: Reuters
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Earlier, in his letter dated October 24, Jairam Ramesh told Mayawati, "I  write to you in great anguish regarding the implementation of MGNREGA in the state of Uttar Pradesh.."

"The overall feedback that we have so far reveals that the implementation of MGNREGA in Uttar Pradesh has been far from satisfactory, more so in most other states.

Many serious and in fact, brazen violations and cases of deliberate embezzlement of funds have been coming to the notice of the Union Ministry of Rural Development from time to time."

Accusing the state government of not initiating any punitive action against concerned officials, he had said, "the signal that has gone out by the state government's continuing inaction is clear -- make money  openly, flout all rules and procedures  blatantly and nothing will happen to you if you have the patronage of the ruling establishment in the state."


Photographs: Reuters
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