Guwahati, Jul 16: The Assam Assembly today witnessed heated discussion over the diversion of SGRY funds to NREGA, with the Opposition criticising the state government's failure to extend SGRY's term by two months even after the Assembly had passed a proposal to the effect.
The entire Question Hour was taken up by this single issue, with the Opposition as well as ruling party MLAs alleging that the merger of Swampoorna Grameen Rojgar Yojana (SGRY) funds with that of NREGA has not benefitted the people in any manner and instead encouraged corruption at the lower levels.
Referring to the proposal adopted in the House during the Budget Session for requesting the Centre to extend the SGRY's term by two months upto May, the Opposition said the state government failed to pursue it.
State Parliamentary Affairs Minister Bharat Narah, replying in absence of the concerned minister, contended that the state had written to the Centre on the issue on April 2 and received the reply within two days.
He informed that the state was directed to divert SGRY schemes to NREGA which were permissible under the latter and take up the remaining schemes with special funds provided by the Centre or state government.
The Opposition, however, claimed that false utilisation certificates were issued overnight after the SGRY ended on March 31 as the NREGA was extended to cover all districts in the state.
They also pointed out that another reason for asking for the extension of SGRY was that it takes a couple of months for NREGA schemes to be operational and in the meantime, the people have been deprived of the benefits.
The government, however, refused to accept the charge and maintained that the merger has been smooth and any anomalies or corruption charge would be dealt with.