शनिवार, 24 फ़रवरी 2018

Ombudsman- A System of NREGA-Grievance Redressal Mechanism is disaster in Odisha


In 2010, using its power under section 27 of MGNREGA ( Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), the Central Govt. issued Instruction along with Guideline for constitution of Ombudsman for redressal of  grievances and disposal of  complaints relating to implementation of NREGA to all states including Odisha. This instruction was issued  in the backdrop of  reported alleged  corruption and irregularities  in implementation of NREGS work, denial of wages to labourers,  preparation and submission of false bills by Govt. officials, manipulation of Muster Roll etc. Following the direction of Central Govt., Govt. of Odisha issued circular  dt.17.2.2010 seeking application from interested persons  for post of Ambudsman. In 2011 and 2012, the State Govt. appointed Ombudsman in all districts for two years. After their tenure is over in 2013 and 2014, almost all districts were left with no Ombudsman till  yet.  

RTI Application was filed to the Dept. of Panchayat Raj  seeking information about details of appointment and functioning  of Ombudsman  in Odisha. The information provided by the PIO dated 17.2.18 is as follows.

1.              Ombudsman has been appointed in 11 districts i.e., Bolangir, Baragarh, Bhadrak, Jharsuguda, Khorda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Nuapara, Rayagada and Sundargarh.
Sl.No.
Name of District
Name of Ombudsperson
Date of joining
1
Bolangir
Rabindra Kumar Tripathy
20.6.16
2
Baragarh
Mohit Kumar Mohapatra
29.7.2016
3
Bhadrak
Lalita Sahu
20.9.2017
4
Jharsuguda
Jayarayan Patel
17.6.2016
5
Khorda
Satyananda Jena
9.10.2017
6
Koraput
Uma Charan Choudhury
30.10.2017
7
Mayurbhanj
Swarupananda Kar
19.7.2016
8
Malkangiri
Durga Prasad Tripathy
1.8.2016
9
Nuapara
R. Bijay Raj
14.9.2017
10
Rayagada
Bidulata Huika
26.7.2016
11
Sundargarh
Jemes Ekka
21.9.2017

2.              No Ombudsman has been appointed in 19 districts i.e., Dhenkanal, Gajapati, Sonepur, Nawarang Pur, Nayagarh, Angul, Balasore, Boudh, Cuttack, Ganjam, Jagatsingh Pur, jajpur, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Puri , Kendrapara, Deogarh, Keonjhar and Sambalpur.
3.              Appointment of Ombudsman in Kendrapara  has been challenged in the court. The matter is under subjudice.
Comments

Though Ombudsman has been appointed in few districts, it is not functioning properly due to lack of secretarial support and non-cooperation of district administration.  Sri Durga  Tripathy  who was appointed  as Ombudsman since 1.8.2016 could  not  conduct any hearing or inspection of work  due to lack of  transport facilities and other official support. He is seen sitting idle without discharging any duties. Similarly, A. Sadanand Rao , a retired ADM who  was appointed  as Ombudsman  of Ganjam district  in 2013 was not allowed to function independently. He was harassed by District officials and denied secretarial support and transport facilities. He was also denied remuneration. Being humiliated and tortured by officials and deprived of his right, he filed complaint to National Human Rights Commission seeking justice. NHRC heard the case and issued notice dt. 27.11.15 to  Chief Secretary to submit the Action Taken Report within six weeks.  As I recall, this man was struggling and fighting the case  with NHRC for justice. It was learnt that  the District administration of Ganjam  has  deliberately  hatched  conspiracy  not to allow Ombudsman  function properly   in order to give credit to Chief Minister   that  there  can never be  corruption in NREGA   in the district  which is  represented by by Nabin Patnaik. Suppressing corruption in NREGA, the district administration succeeded in getting  award  for best performing district in the field of NREGA.  Since A. Sadanand Rao, there is no appointment of Omdudsman  in Ganjam district. But there is widespread corruption and irregularities  in implementation of NREGA through out  Ganjam district.

Pradip Pradhan
M-9937843482
Date- 25.2.18


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