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Complaints Galore On Unpaid Wages Of NREGS

IMPHAL, Feb 10: Inspite of its launch being solely aimed at upliftment of the poorer section of the society through provision of work, execution of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) here in the State is unarguably far from being noble as a number of cases regarding unpaid wages had been reported to the Commission set up specifically to address irregularities.

According to an informed source, number of case filed received so far by the Commission for redressal on unpaid wages is 634 out of which 585 cases have been disposed.

While most of the complaints were resolved amicably, in case of one particular case disciplinary action leading to termination from service was recommended by the Commission.

Majority of the workers engaged in NREGS related activities are said to be females with the Deputy Commissioner concerned assigned to monitor the scheme implementation at the district level and the same responsibility entrusted to the Pradhan at the local level.

Introduced by the UPA Govt in 2006, NREGS envision provision of 100 working days in the year with the daily wage fixed at Rs 83. In Manipur, NREGS activities cover drainage works, dredging ponds, village road development and repairing, roadside jungle clearance etc, said the source adding that most of the complaints reported to the Commission concerns non-payment of wages even after execution of assigned tasks.

It is informed that out of 192 cases reported in 2009, 92 of them were against the department of Rural Development in 2010 44 cases were against the same department out of the total of 184.

Invoking provisions of the Right to information Act 2005, NREGS job card holders as well as others sought information as to why the wages had not been paid or on various other related issues such as number of schemes initiated in a specific area and benefits supposed to be extended to the workers and their family.

The source further revealed that in case 30 days period given to heads of Department concerned to reply on the complaint(s) do not evoke positive response, State Public information Officer has the right to approach legal experts for penalizing guilty officials upto Rs 25,000.

While expressing hope that more citizens will seek information to not only know benefits being provided through various welfare programs but to drag corrupt officials to the Court, the source also revealed that maximum number of complaints was received in 2009 with the number touching 192 out of 189 cases were disposed. Least number of complaints at 25 was received when the noble Scheme was launched in 2009.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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