Taking a su-motto cognizance, Minister-in-charge Community & Rural Development, Hamletson Dohling has sought a detailed report on the alleged decision of a village dorbar to ostracise a woman for exposing corruption in the implementation of the MGNREGS in East Jaintia Hills district.
“I will immediately seek a detailed report through the department and the BDO on this particular case,” Dohling told reporters on Monday.
Thrina Suchen, a resident of Lama village in East Jaintia Hills was cut off socially after the dorbar shnong in November, last year allegedly ordered all residents of the village to stop buying vegetables and groceries from her shop, leading to its shutting down.
According to Suchen, she was ostracized just because she had refused to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 for exposing corruption in the implementation of the MGNREGS through the RTI findings.
Stating that no village dorbar has the authority to impose penalty on residents for seeking information under the RTI Act, 2005, Dohling said, “Taking such action is not acceptable as the filing of RTI is the right of each and every citizen of the state and the nation as a whole.”
Asked if an inquiry would be ordered into the incident, the minister replied in the affirmative.
“I will seek a report from the Deputy Commissioner as well as BDO on the matter. Once we get clear information, I will appoint somebody to investigate the incident,” he informed.
Asserting that nobody can take the law into their own hands, Dohling said the government is committed to ensure such incidents of the social boycott are not allowed to happen in the state.
“In fact, we also want the implementation of the NREGS should be transparent and free from corruption allegations and from any kind of misuse,” he said while adding that RTI is a weapon to ensure transparency and accountability.
He also expressed support to people who are seeking information about the various government schemes and said, “But it should be for a genuine cause.”
Admitting that there are cases of alleged misappropriation of the MGNREGS in the state, the minister however said the department has from time to time directed its officers to conduct regular social audits to ensure the scheme is implemented properly in the state.