Kaliapani: Amid lockdowns and shutdowns, most daily wagers, migrant returnees and local labourers are living in a dire condition sans employment opportunities in this area of Jajpur.
Keeping their economic hardships in mind, the Central and the state governments have directed the district administration to create job scope of manual labour through MGNREGS so as to tide over the work scarcity during the ongoing lockdown period. Preference was to be given to job card holders on the priority basis.
Sadly, this concern of the government has allegedly been ignored during execution of projects under this rural job scheme in Kaliapani area, because machines are being used in projects instead. Job card holders, who are entitled to work opportunity, at this time, are sitting pretty, a report said.
This irregularity has come to the fore at Pimpudia panchayat under Sukinda block.
According to reports, Rs12 lakh has been sanctioned for excavation of six ponds at Pimpudia, Ambapala and Nuadiha.
Locals alleged that an influential person of the locality has taken up the work. He has been carrying out pond renovation and excavation with machines instead of engaging daily wagers.
It was further alleged that the person has collected some job cards from beneficiaries. These people were not engaged in work, but their names were entered in muster rolls, which is against the official guidelines.
Locals alleged that the block administration has looked the other way when MGNREGS norms were violated at this crisis hour.
They pointed out that scores of labourers are sitting idle for want of work in the area while such violations should be taken seriously.
They demanded an impartial probe into the allegation and stern action against the contractor.
The villagers observed that use of machines has impacted earning scope of the poorest in the area, who depend on MGNREGS for a livelihood.
“If machines are allowed for the work, it would only benefit the contractor,” a job card holder said requesting anonymity.
When our reporter tried to contact Sukinda BDO Biswajit Das over phone to record his reaction on the issue, he did not receive the call.