Motihari: Programme officers (POs) posted in various blocks of West Champaran district proceeded on a mass leave on Friday in protest against, what they said, denial of remuneration by the district administration for the past few months.
In a letter addressed to the deputy development commissioner (DDC), the POs, best known as chief executers of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) schemes at the grassroots level, lodged their protest over denial of remuneration from April and said they were forced to proceed on mass casual leave for seven days from July 20.
“West Champaran is probably the one-off district in entire Bihar, where all MGNREGA schemes are best ignored owing to the district administration’s lackadaisical attitude. Of the nine central government schemes, only one is on the run, whereas the others have been shoved under the carpet owing to official apathy,” said one of the signatories on condition of anonymity.
Programme officers also accused senior district officials of misbehaving with them during the review meeting. “For the past many months, the officials are using foul word and treating the POs with contempt,” said a press release. “Nothing is being done under MGNREGA scheme this year ahead of the floods,” the release said.
When contacted, Bettiah DDC Ravindra Prasad Singh feigned ignorance about the protest leave of programme officers who report to him.
“Their performances have been poor and as a result, they have been denied of their man day (remuneration),” he said, adding the district administration will consider the remuneration only if their performances improved.
Bettiah MLA Madan Mohan Tiwari accused the senior district officials of shelving the MGNREGA schemes throughout the district. “Performance of certain POs were not up to the mark. Much of the blame lies on top officers if these schemes fail to run in West Champaran,” said Tiwari, adding his question in this regard has been accepted in the Assembly for the monsoon session.
“Top officials do not let it run, a fact which has been corroborated by the village headmen,” said Tiwari, adding they are looking for a scapegoat.
Courtesy: The Telegraph