TODAY -
Flagship Programme of UPA Govt MNREGS Reduced To A Watering Hole For Crooks
100 days employment mutates to 100 days of exploitation

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 30 2010: Apart from being exploited for their ignorance of the finer details of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), which is touted as a flagship programme of the UPA Government, to ensure jobs for hundred days in a year to every household, villagers and the actual targets of the scheme are at the mercy of implementing officers and Pradhans.

They are also being denied the facility to withdraw their wages through bank or the post office.

Numerous cases of job card holder villagers being denied their rights over one reason or another have came to light during an independent survey conducted by The Sangai Express, recently.

The case of Kshetrima-yum Bimola Devi, a job card holder of the scheme under Khurai Khaidem Leikai Gram Panchayat in Imphal East-1 block of Imphal East district, is just the tip of the iceberg.

With the exception of her photograph taken along with her husband which is pasted on the job card, there is no detail about the works she has been engaged in. On how the wages are given to the job card holders, Bimola recalled that Rs 20 were collected from each of the job card holders for opening bank account by the Pradhan and the Zilla Parishad member.

As the bank pass books have not been provided, some of them went to Manipur Rural Bank and lodged a complaint.

Only then, they came to know that the passbooks have already been collected by the Pradhan and the Zilla Parishad member without their knowledge.

After getting her pass book, one day Bimola checked her bank account to find out whether the amount of the wage given to them on March 18,2009 was correct or not.

But much to her surprise, Bimola found that Rs 300 had been withdrawn without her knowledge.

Prior to that, Bimola has been receiving her wage through Zilla Parishad member or Pradhan who encashed the money on behalf of the job card holders from their respective bank accounts.

The amount which had been withdrawn without her knowledge, however, was given back to her following another complaint.

Bimola disclosed that al-though she has received her bank passbook following the complaint, there are many job card holders who have not received their bank passbooks.

Furthermore, she informed that job for 79 days were provided in 2008-09, only for 13 days in 2009-10 and so far for 14 days in the current 2010-11 .

For the 13 days of work in 2009-10, only Rs 560 were given as wages for 7 days after the wages for 6 days were adjusted as wages for skilled labour.

Out of the Rs 560, Rs 60 had also been deducted as charges for errand work.

As it takes time to withdraw money from the bank, the accounts of the job card holders have been opened in the post office from this year.

Here again, the passbooks issued by the post office have been taken by the Zilla Parishad member on the assurance that it would be more convenient for withdrawing the amount collectively.

In accordance to the guidelines of the scheme, the job card holders themselves have to withdraw their money from the bank or the post office after the authorities concerned provide them with wage slips.

It may be noted here that in Manipur, 4,18,564 households have been reportedly covered under the scheme including 58,012 households in Imphal East district.


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