An MGNREGA official in Tumakuru district was allegedly assaulted by contractors after he refused to clear inflated bills.
According to The Times of India report by Rakesh Prakash, the angry contractors on Monday tried to chop off technical coordinator HR Srinivas’s hands with a machete. He was attacked on his way back from the office, and he sustained serious injuries on his hand.
Tumakuru district SP, Karthik Reddy told The News Minute that the incident happened near Kadur police station limits in Ramanagara district. A case of assualt has been booked in the station. Both Tumakuru and Ramanagara district police are looking for the accused.
Currently, the 53-year-old officer is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Basaveshwaranagar in the district. His hand might need a reconstruction surgery.
Srinivas is responsible for implementation of job schemes in Kunigal taluk in Tumakuru district. Heading a team of five engineers, he also gives technical sanctions to works undertaken and determines payments to be made to contractors.
According to the report, the trouble started when Srinivas and the Kunigal taluk panchayat officer Narasimhaiah, visited recharge pits (where rainwater is used to replenish groundwater) between Bagenahalli and CH Palya.
“We found that the contractors had exaggerated the measurements of works executed. The official estimate for each pit was Rs 69,000. We decided to reduce the amount to Rs 42,000 per pit as they did not conform to the prescribed standards. That angered contractors Keshava and Manjunath,” Srinivas said.
On Monday, the contractors allegedly barged into the office of Srinivas and threatened to chop off his hands if he signed the modified bills. In spite of the threats, the officers decided to go by the rules.
Vipul Bansal, commissioner (rural development-MNREGA) said that they are collecting information about the incident.
Explaining how the attack happened, Srinivas said, “After finishing work, I was riding back to Magadi from Kunigal, about 20 km away on my two-wheeler when Keshava and Manjunath followed me on a bike. At Thalakere, one of them pulled out a machete and swung it at me. They missed. As I slowed down, they slashed my right hand. Before they could strike again, I took a U-turn and sped away till I reached a tea stall. When I stopped, I realized my hand had been chopped and I was soaked in blood. The people at the tea stall called an ambulance and shifted me to a hospital in Magadi and then to Bengaluru.”
Rural development minister HK Patil said that the government would freeze all payments to the contractors accused in the case. He added that the medical bill of Srinivas would be taken care of by the government.