With the return of migrant labourers from other states following the nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the West Bengal government has decided to give them jobs under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) programme and Matir Sristi, a state rural scheme.
At meeting with the officials of the Panchayet & Rural Development and Irrigation Department on Wednesday, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Give 100-day work to those who have come from other states.” The meeting through video conference was also attended by district magistrates.
She said, “Village economy will save us in future. So, upliftment of villages will be the only way to save our state.”
She also warned all the district magistrates that no irregularities in ration and pension scheme would be tolerated.
On Wednesday, the CM also launched the new project, Matir Sristi, to provide job opportunities to people in the state. “In order to generate income for the poor, the state government has launched a massive project — Matir Sristi. Through this project, fallow land will be prepared for horticulture and other activities, including fisheries and animal husbandry, will be initiated,” Banerjee said.
The project will cover six districts — Bankura, Purulia, Birbhum, Jhargram, Paschim Burdwan amd Paschim Midnapore. Nearly 50,000 acre of land will be used, which will help 2.5 lakh beneficiaries.
“The government schemes will be implemented with the help of Water Resources Investigation & Development Department,” added the CM.
According to a press release issued by the administration, the government will take 10-20 acre land from poor farmers for the project and also add its own plots free of cost. The land owners will form a farmers’ cooperative societies that would be linked to cooperatives banks for financial support. Women self-help groups will also be involved in several activities by these societies. These groups will directly be associated with the implementation of the projects, with no involvement of contractors and also facilitate marketing of the produce. The funding will be done mostly through MNREGA.
To increase 100-day work opportunities, the state government also emphasised on jobs including, developing kitchen and vertical gardens, fisheries, pond digging, seed production, building and rural road construction.
However, officials said that the state government did not get the total amount of funds allotted for last year’s 100-day work from the Centre. They also expressed concern on how much funds they will receive this year.
She added that under the Rural Housing Scheme, 10 lakh houses will be constructed and migrant labourers will be employed for this.