Bhawanipatna: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is a labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. But it is alleged that the Act’s rules have been openly contravened in Jariguma under Jaypatna block. While the scheme is meant to provide 100 days of work to the daily labourers, in Jariguma village the de-silting of pond under the scheme is done by a machine, it is alleged.
However, the administration has no information about the contractor involved in the work.
Jariguma villagers have alleged that the government has undertaken the de-silting of Karaghati pond under the MGNREGA scheme. But the contractor concerned is using a proclainer and a tractor to remove silt from the pond. As a result, labourers who could have been benefited from this scheme have been deprived of their earnings.
According to the information plaque put up at the site, the estimated cost of the scheme is about Rs 1 lakh. When the gram rozgar sevak (GRS) and junior engineer were asked about this, they said they had no information about the project. This has raised questions about their efficiency.
The villagers alleged the duo is doing several ‘muster rolls’ for completion of a particular work marking fake labour attendance register to claim funds for the payment of wages. After getting the money, they deposit it in the bank account in the name of fake beneficiaries, local labourers alleged. In this way they are misappropriating the government fund in a fraudulent manner, the villagers added.
They further said although they have been complaining against this misappropriation in the block office no action has been taken so far.
When Kalahandi Collector Parag Harshad Gavali was asked about this, he said he had instructed the block development officer (BDO) of Jaipatana to look into the complaint and further steps would be taken after receiving the inspection report.
MGNREGA: A LEGAL ENTITLEMENT
The MGNREGA was initiated with the objective of ‘enhancing livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year, to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.’ MGNREGA is meant to create durable assets such as roads, canals, ponds and wells. Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence and minimum wages are to be paid. If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance. Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement. MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs). The involvement of contractors is banned.