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Villagers allege irregularities in GHADC projects

TURA: Village elders from two villages in East Garo Hills have petitioned the Deputy Commissioner to initiate a probe into rural development projects of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) alleging that construction work is yet to begin although funds have already been released to contractors.
The villagers of Dobetkolgre and Nengkra villages pointed out misappropriation of GHADC funds in construction of retaining walls, garbage disposal and a waiting shed for travellers.
They allege that RTI findings reveal that the entire fund for these projects was released to the contractors even though there was no visible sign of any construction work at the site.
The villagers of Dobetkolgre have registered a complaint with the DC against a local woman contractor who was paid a total of Rs 3,80,000 for construction of a waiting shed in their village.
The first installment of advance bill amounting to Rs 2,28,000 was paid to her on November 2, 2016 and the second installment of Rs 1,52,000 on March 20, 2017.
“In spite of receiving the entire amount earmarked for the construction of the waiting shed in our village nearly two years ago, work has not started till now,” accused the villagers in their petition to the district administration.
In another alleged case of funds misappropriation, villagers from Nengkra under Samanda block have also approached the Deputy Commissioner accusing two local contractors, including a woman, of similar misappropriation.
The woman contractor who was allotted a retaining wall construction project valued at Rs 4,75,000, withdrew the amount in two instalments, Rs 2,85,000 on November 2, 2016 and Rs 1,90,000 on March 8, 2017, without starting work on the project.
Similarly, a local male contractor of GHADC who bagged a project to construct a garbage disposal unit at Nengkra weekly market valued at Rs 47,500 also stands accused of withdrawing the entire amount in two instalments without initiating any work at the site.
“Since they (contractors) have already withdrawn the entire amount for the projects they must be held accountable and complete the projects allotted to them,” stated the villagers in their complaint letter to the DC.
The GHADC, which is already plagued by a burgeoning financial problem and delaying monthly pay to its employees for over a year, was given a one-time financial assistance by the central government to the tune of Rs 100 crore for developmental activities.
Many of the projects taken up under the special assistance funding have so far not been completed and allegations of misappropriation of central funds have been rampant.

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