SEEKING PAYMENT of compensation (0.05 per cent a day) for delayed payment of wages to MGNREGA labourers in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has decided to gherao Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s MP office in Varanasi in the first week of May. The party has also directed its district units in the region to oppose PM Modi’s expected visit to Ballia district on May 1, marked as International Labour Day.
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While the Congress is also planning to move the court over the issue next week, it has decided to hold chaupals in as many as nine districts of eastern UP surrounding Varanasi from April 20 to mobilise MGNREGA labourers and spread awareness about their rights to compensation for delayed payment beyond 15 days.
According to Sanjay Dixit, chairman of UPA flagship programmes committee in UP and in-charge of the campaign, guidelines released by the Union Ministry of Rural Development on June 12, 2014 to the Principal Secretaries who are in-charge of MGNREGA, states that these workers are “entitled to receive compensation at a rate of 0.05 per cent for unpaid wages per day for the duration of the delay beyond 16th day of the closure of the muster roll”.
“Last year, about 76 per cent of the payment of NREGA wages in UP was delayed payment ranging from 20 to over 100 days. While the Government of India has recently released funds under the scheme after the issue was taken up in court, it has quietly ignored its own guidelines on compensation,” added Dixit.
He further claimed that according to records available on Management Information System of the scheme, last year as many as 60,000 job cards in UP received delayed payment. “Workers are not aware about their rights. Thus, starting from the Prime Minister’s constituency and neighbouring districts, we would educate and mobilise them to stand with us to gherao PM’s parliamentary office as well as oppose each of his visit to UP including the expected one on May 1 in Ballia,” said Dixit.