Lack of adequate staff hit the drive against housing scam

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The drive against corruption launched by Odisha’s vigilance directorate in state and central housing schemes appeares to have hit a roadblock in Jeypore in Koraput district dur to staff shortage.

housing scam
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The state-wide drive is underway against corruption in Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (BGPY) and Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (PMAY).

The Jeypore division with Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts of south and western Odisha under its jurisdiction has registered only six cases of graft in rural housing schemes in the last one month, officials said.

Out of the six, at least three cases are from Kalahandi and one each from Koraput, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri.

Out of the sanctioned posts of 16 inspectors, eight posts are lying vacant and against a sanctioned strength of seven DSP-rank officers only three are present, they said.

“Every day, we receive complaints of corruption in rural housing schemes, but owing to acute shortage of staff, it takes a long time to initiate action,” said a senior vigilance official adding, besides investigating into the complaints about rural housing schemes, the office also got other related complaints.

This necessitates the diversion of the investigation officer, thereby delaying the probe into the housing graft.

Owing to the shortage of staff, mobilisation of officers for investigation gets delayed, he said.

After the vigilance directorate launched dedicated phone numbers through which people can lodge complaints regarding the scams in the twin housing schemes recently, the Jeypore division had received at least 10 complaints.

Stating that full strength of officers could expedite the investigation process, SP (vigilance) Sashi Bhusan Mishra said, “We are trying to manage with the available manpower and resources. We have registered at least six cases and investigation is on for seven more complaints.”

To ensure that funds meant for the rural housing schemes were not misappropriated and benefits reached the genuine beneficiaries, the vigilance directorate had launched the special drive.

The vigilances action follows Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s stress on abolishing bribe culture in welfare schemes at the collectors’ conference in Bhubaneswar last month.

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