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Seven families of Bagodar in Giridih district are running from pillar to post over the safety and welfare of their near and dear ones who were lured by some agents to get them lucrative jobs in the Gulf.

As per reports reaching here on Monday, the agents dumped the job-seekers in Dubai to do menial work and made to fend for themselves.


The concern for them grew all the more when one of them, Sunil Kumar, who was taken to Kuwait by the agents, managed to escaped from the clutches of their Arab employers and reached the Indian Embassy in Kuwait and returned to Bagodar four days ago, thanks to help from embassy officials.


Narrating his woes to the families of Sashi Bhushan Rai, Hiralal Mahto, Nilkanth Mahto, Chatradhari Mahto, Ayub Ansari, Nemchand Mahato and Jodha Mahato, who were lured by the agents, Sunil alleged that they were all kept as bonded labourers. He, however, said he was unaware about their condition and their whereabouts currently.


He said, in all 8 persons including him, were approached by one Chinnamalai-based (Tamil Nadu) agent Adlew Sardar through a Nawadih-based tout, Tukeshwar Mahto. They were told that Sardar had come out with very good offer for providing them lucrative jobs and covinced them to accompany him to Tamil Nadu where they will be accommodated suitably.


Sunil alleged that instead of taking them to Tamil Nadu Sardar, who was supplying labourers from India to Kuwait, dumped them in Kuwait where they are used as bonded labourers. They were neither allowed to meet anybody nor come out of the premises of the so-called employers.


Sunil alleged they were made to graze camels, sheep, goats and other animals in Kuwati deserts and brutally treated by their employers, who were Arab Sheikhs.


He somehow managed to escape from the clutches of the Arab employers and reached the Indian embassy whose took necessay step for his safe return to Bagodar.


After hearing Sunil's tale of woe, the wives of the other seven persons rushed to Hazaribag and submitted a petition to the North Chhotanagpur commissioner requesting him to take steps for the safe return of their husbands to Bagodar and demanded action against the agents who lured them to go to Kuwait.


Though the petitiones could not meet the N Chhotanagpur commissioner personally, their joint petition was accepted by the commissioner's office for necessary action.


© TNN / July 14, 2009

Anomalies plague rural job scheme in Giridih

In a pond repair scheme under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), accounts have been misappropriated to the tune of Rs 3 lakh. Worse, the file of the scheme undertaken in 2007-08 is missing.


An inspection of Deori block by sub-divisional magistrate Iqbal Alam Ansari has found huge irregularities in work being done under the scheme.


The inspection report submitted by Ansari on July 7 to deputy commissioner Vandana Dadel and deputy development commissioner Khurshid Anwer revealed not only fraud in implementation of the scheme but a large number of missing files and a huge number of incomplete schemes.


"In a scheme of Nawahar (pond) repair at Chiknadih village estimated to cost Rs 98,000, the amount mentioned in the report has been changed to Rs 3,98,000. Of this, Rs 2,89,000 has been paid in advance," mentions the report.


There is no provision of advance payment under the act. Among the 13 blocks of Giridih, Naxalite-hit Deori is completely development-starved. The residents of the block have witnessed two massacres of high-profile people in the past four years.


In Bhelwaghati and Chilkhari, 16 and 20 villagers, respectively, including the son of former chief minister Babulal Marandi, had been gunned down by CPI(Maoists).


Ansari also mentioned the junior engineer's physical verification in the report that shows work worth Rs 40,000 has been completed so far. Moreover, the file of the scheme is missing.


Other examples of corruption in implementation of NREGA — a scheme that can directly benefit the poorest of poor and check extremism in interiors — has also come to light.


No new scheme has been taken up in the current or last fiscal. Only 13 out of 71 schemes of 2006-07 have been completed. Work has not been completed in 40 works sanctioned in 2007-08. In Chiknadih (also a panchayat), so far 11 schemes have been undertaken but only five have been completed while files of two schemes are missing.


Ansari also mentioned that several measurement books are pending with the junior engineer and schemes have been sanctioned without seeing the number of job cardholders in the village. So, in some cases more than the assigned number of labourers has been inducted, while in other cases less.


Anwer told The Telegraph: "We will first recover the amount from the contractor of the pond scheme and later file an FIR alleging fraud in government scheme. We have also served a notice to Deori block development officer Sudhir Kumar to reply on the points and accelerate the pace of schemes."


"Such work culture could only help Maoists operating in the area. If we really want to check Naxalism, we have to implement the NREGA properly in places like Deori," said Singh, a Congress leader who is also the district co-ordinator of Congress NREGA cell.


© The Telegraph / July 14, 2009

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