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In Gujarat, several dead men were found working with Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act Scheme in the Banaskantha district, exposing corruption at an all-new level.

Five men, who were being paid under the scheme died between 2016 and 2019. They were still drawing wages and still working in Balundra village of Amirgadh taluka in the district. Authorities were making regular payments in their names.

The five deceased men working under the scheme were identified as Bhera Vasiya, Jalma Ghorana, Hima Ghorana, Kala Ghorana, and Vali Shrimali. Payments of Rs 900 per week were made in their name till April 2020.

A leading national daily highlighted the matter recently and it was reported that their family members were found clueless about the payments and the rural employment scheme. This simply means that someone was getting paid in their name.

Dummy job cards created, probe on

Vadgam legislator Jignesh Mevani and local activist Kiran Parmer were behind busting the MGNREGA scam in Balundra village, which lies on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border and has a population of 2,600.

MLA Jignesh Mevani was quoted as saying that in the name of about 800 people in Balundra village, dummy job cards were created. When the probe was conducted further into the matter, it was noted that five people, who were enrolled in the scheme, were shown to have signed on the musters and got their wages.

These five people are already dead and it was clear that officials are siphoning off money from the poor. The MLA stated that the guilty should be punished.

Bhera Vasiya's father stated that his son died in a road accident three years ago and was 21 years old. Bhera used to work as a labourer and is survived by a wife, five children and elderly parents. He added, "I am struggling day and night to earn two meals a day for my family while officials steal money on his name."

On the other hand, Ravindrasinh Vala, who is a Director of Zila Gram Vikas Agency that monitors the MGNREGA scheme, had no clue about any such thing happening under the scheme as he said that he had no idea about any such scam.

A probe is underway into the dummy job cards created in Banaskantha district and an FIR has been lodged in the alleged scam.