Social audit sails through stormy day
Dr Sandeep Pandey
The social audit team completed its seventh day of audit despite being a stormy and rainy day in the areas. Rain cleared the sky, so did the process of social audit by uncovering the realities in the implementation of NREGS. Today gram pradhans cooperated fully in the audit, nevertheless at some places the 'cooperation' became hindrance and it affected the audit process as well. The gram pradhans are commendable for their constructive role and has helped in strengthening the democratic process. The audit was completed by the audit team in the gram panchayats of Arairr Kalaa, Mahendra, Shirsh Kanhar, Mawai Brahmnaan, Tajpur, Amethan Gadhi, Miyaganj, Sarai Chandan, Lag Lesaraa, and Kotraa.
The villagers narrated the sufferings in the implementation of NREGS to the audit team as soon as it arrived. The laborers of panchayats - ShirshKanhar, VawaiBrahmnan and Tajpur complained that they have to pay for the photo which is already prepaid by the NREGS. Ramchandra son of Paggal of Miyaganj panchayat is shown in the records to have worked for 71 days whereas he has worked and was paid for only 8 days. His site of work is shown in the records as connecting road construction and planting but the audit team found not even a trace of such developmental work.
When audit team reached Muzaffarpur Sarra the representative of gram prahdan participated was presenet throughout the audit process, however it generated apprehension among the villagers. Only 5 job cards were presented to verify by the team from a count of 487. It was obvious to the team that the villagers were afraid to tell the truth in the presence of the representative of the pradhan. When the team decided to look for the pradhan, they were informed that he is gone to open accounts for the laborers. Similarly in Saramba the audit team were refrained from verifying any job cards and were informed that the padhan is holding all the job cards. Similarly, in Mahendra village panchayat the plantation work shown in records do not even exist on ground.
As the rains after heavy storm cleared the villagers of Miyanganj block are hopeful for the positive changes in near future. The social audit team is able to complete the seventh day successfully with the help of public support and awareness.
Dr Sandeep Pandey
[Author is a noted social activist, recepient of Ramon Magsaysay Award (2002) for emergent leadership and heads National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) in India]