Magsaysay award winner returns award in protest

Lucknow, Feb 3 (ANI): Magsaysay award winner and social worker Sandeep Pandey has returned the Employment Awareness Award to protest against the alleged political patronage to corrupt and criminal elements in gram panchayats.

The award, given by the Union rural development department, was conferred on Pandey by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on February 2, 2009.

"I have been prompted to take this painful step to protest against political patronage to corrupt and criminal practices in gram panchayat Aira Kake Mau, Hardoi. This is not only an insult to the workers but also undermines their legal rights," said Pandey.

"After making complaints for the past two years from bottom onwards in the hierarchy to Rural Development Minister, there has been no investigation nor on the baton charge or corruption prevailing. So after being disappointed by the state and central government as well as the administration I have taken the decision to return the award," he added.

Pandey also highlighted the graft issues that have engulfed the scheme.

A letter has been sent to Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh along with the cash prize informing him of the decision.

The move is against government inaction in a case related to alleged embezzlement of Rs 6.20 lakh by Ghanshyam, husband of pradhan of Aira Kake Mau village in Hardoi.

An FIR was lodged against Ghanshyam in which he was also accused of beating villagers in the presence of police on January 14, 2009. (ANI)

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