Funding delay freezes MGNREGS remuneration
Bhanjanagar: The Centre-sponsored Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has become a mainstream employment program and has helped reduce rural unemployment in the country.
However, the program failed to achieve the desired success for various reasons at different times.
Additionally, preferential treatment in the payment of wages, allegedly on the basis of caste, has also undermined the success of the program. Salaries are paid based on the whims of officials according to their caste preference.
It has been alleged that now the Center does not release funds on time for which it has become difficult to pay labor card holders in a timely manner. The rule states that work card holders must be paid every 15 days.
Any infringement invites legal action against the employees concerned.
The Centre, by not releasing the funds to the bank accounts of work card holders in due time, violates the rule it has enacted. Such violation of the rules has been observed for some years.
As a result, resentment is brewing among the people and especially the labor card holders in Ganjam district. Reports indicate that the Center has yet to release funds for salaries from the last week of December until now.
The workers were last paid on December 27. As a result, salaries amounting to more than Rs. 1 crore have yet to be paid to work card holders alone under the Bhanjanagar bloc.
Labor card holders who worked for the Forest Department also did not receive their salaries. Therefore, they also lose interest in their work due to non-payment of dues on time.
Moreover, the implementation of the scheme is also progressing at a snail’s pace under the aegis of the forest department. Workers are demotivated to work under the scheme in the Forest Department.
Senior department officials have also expressed dissatisfaction with the slow pace of implementation.
Recently, a meeting was held at the local incubator where senior officials insisted on preparing a plan to create more and more man-days.
Chairing the meeting, DFO Abhaya Kanta Dalai insisted on the correct and successful implementation of the program and providing work to more and more people.
When contacted, BDO Anil Kumar Sethi said workers’ wages are paid into their bank accounts as soon as the funds are available for disbursement.