MP orders probe into graft charges in marriage scheme

The Madhya Pradesh government has ordered a probe after revelations one panchayat block in Vidisha district had funded nearly 6,000 weddings in two years under a welfare scheme – a “high” number by all estimates.

The Sironj block of Vidisha district paid Rs 30 crore to 5,976 beneficiaries under the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna between April 2019 to May 2021, state’s Mineral Resources and Labour minister Brijendra Pratap Singh said in a reply in the Assembly on Wednesday. In the same period, Sironj municipal area spent Rs 40.8 lakh on eight weddings, while Lateri municipality spent Rs 76.5 lakh on 15 weddings under the scheme.

The Yojna provides Rs 51,000 as financial assistance to newly married couples to help economically weaker families marry off their daughters. Most of the beneficiaries are labourers registered with the state’s Building and Other Construction Workers Board.

The minister gave the figures while replying to a question by his party colleague and MLA from Sironj, Umakant Sharma, who had alleged “the figure was too high”. Sharma alleged “fake beneficiaries” had been propped up to “usurp the benefits by corrupt employees”.

Speaker Girish Gautam also questioned the minister on the figures: “How is it possible that around 6,000 weddings were held and Rs 30 crore was spent in a single block considering the Covid period?” He urged the minister to constitute a team to inquire into the matter.

Sharma said he first came to know of the alleged corruption after two beneficiaries from Ghutua village complained they had not received complete payment. He said the complaints were probed and found to be true. “That was when”, Sharma added, “I sought details of the scheme’s beneficiaries in Sironj block and learnt there were nearly 6,000 of them.”

Sharma has blamed the CEO of the Janpad panchayat in Vidisha for the alleged corruption and demanded he be suspended and transferred to ensure a fair probe. “The CEO has been in Sironj for over two years and was in Lateri before this. Despite two attempts by the state government to transfer him out, he has remained there after getting a stay from the court,” Sharma told The Indian Express.

Source link