December 22, 2023

By Express News Service

JAGATSINGHPUR: Large-scale irregularities in toilet construction under Swachh Bharat Mission has come to fore in Potanai panchayat under Kujang block in Jagatsinghpur. 

Locals allege that around Rs 4.36 lakh sanctioned for construction of toilets were misappropriated by a self help group (SHG) of which Rs 1.20 lakh has been recovered by Kujang BDO Soumyashree Panigrahi. 

In 2018-2019, BDO, Kujang had allocated Rs 72.84 lakh to Jagannath SHG of Potanai panchayat for construction of toilets for nearly 607 beneficiaries under the scheme. After allegations of misappropriation cropped up, a departmental inquiry was conducted which revealed that Rs 51.88 lakh had been withdrawn for utilisation while no account for rest of the funds was available. Under Swachh Bharat Mission, the beneficiaries are provided Rs 12,000 each as assistance for construction of toilets. Of the allocated amount, the Centre provides Rs 7,200 while the state’s share is Rs 4,800.

Some villagers of the panchayat had approached Panigrahi last year alleging their names were included in the beneficiary list online mentioning allocation of Rs 12,000 in 2018-19 but they are yet to receive any funds. Panigrahi served notices to then president of the SHG Satyabhama Das and secretary Parbati Biswal on November 30, 2021 to return Rs 4.36 lakh by December 7. “We have given them three weeks time after which we will initiate legal action,” added Panigrahi.

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