NREGA a non-starter in Jalandhar

All is not well with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA),under which,100 days’ guaranteed employment is provided in villages.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Published:January 22, 2009 12:28 am

In villages where the grant has been received,no guidelines issued on how to use it

All is not well with the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA),under which,100 days’ guaranteed employment is provided in villages.

Most of the villages in Jalandhar district are yet to get any grant under this scheme,launched nearly two years ago. The few villages that have got the grant are yet to use it. Sources say that Jalandhar district received Rs 11 crore,but not even one-third of the money has been utilised.

Villagers,meanwhile,point out that laxity on part of the Additional Programming Officers of NREGA and panchayat secretaries was responsible for the poor implementation of the scheme in the district,which has a huge number of unemployed persons.

Under NREGA,employment can be provided in various works,including plantation,cleaning of ponds,making roads and cleaning of canals. Despite a major need for such works in villages of the district,the scheme has not been implemented. In Nihaluwal village,the pond is in a bad shape; it needs both widening and cleaning. Over a year ago,27 persons were identified in the village for work under the scheme,but sarpanch Baldev Singh said the officers did not guide them properly about availing the grant.

In Talwandi Madho village too,cards for 55 people were made under NREGA,and the village received a grant of Rs 2,200 for plantation.

However,this is not enough to provide even a day’s employment to all the 55 persons.

Sarpanch Mohinder Singh alleged that panchayat secretary Jaswinder Singh,who was to guide them about NREGA,does not take interest in the scheme. Jaswinder,on the other hand,claimed that he was making efforts to get grants.

Similar is the story in Jaffranwal and Sohal Khalsa villages. No grant has been received in these villages,even though at both the places,about 40 people were identified under the NREGA.

Some villages which have got the grant do not know how to use it. In Mehmoowal village,Rs 1.56 lakh was received,and about 50 people have been working on roads,but the grant has not been utilised still.

Sarpanch Jawala Singh alleged that he had paid Rs 45,000 to the workers from his pocket,as the Additional Programming Officer (APO) was not helping them utilise the grant.

APO Balraj Singh said the grant would be utilised soon. He,however,did not reply when asked why the villagers were not being guided.

In Chakchela village too,Rs 50,000 was lying unutilised.

When asked about the uncooperative attitude of APOs and other staff,AS Bains,Deputy Chief Executive,NREGA,said he was busy in official work and could not talk about the issue.

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