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Lalit Mehta worked for Jharkhand's poor (part 2)

“The police made no effort to identify him. It was heartrending to imagine the murder and to witness the way his body was humiliated. We identified Lalit by his slipper and shirt. That’s the fate of social activists here,” says Manoj Kumar Singh, president of the Vikash Sahyog Kendra, an NGO that was given the responsibility of carrying out social audit of NREGS in Palamu.
 
Lalit first thwarted corrupt contractors and government officials in 1990 by developing a software to prevent overestimation of civil works under the Sukha Mukti Abhiyaan funded by the state government. The software made it near-impossible for contractors and a section of government officials to make money fraudulently. With the help of the community he built 125 check dams as part of a long-term strategy to overcome droughts in the district.
 
As secretary of the Vikash Sahyog Kendra, Lalit led volunteers in Chhatarpur to verify muster rolls and wage distribution among villagers. He came up with damaging facts about the Rs 5 lakh NREGS project to build a pond in the block. These facts presented during the audit have been compiled in a CD.lt reveals that the project was bogus. During the audit it was found that the roster contained names of 108 people but only eight of them were employed. Villagers’ signatures on the payment register were forged. Job cards were made in the name of 10 villagers who had migrated long ago. In one case the card was issued in the name of a dead person.
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Update : 14-04-2017

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