February 22, 2011 3:19:36 am
A 50-year-old labourer,Subal Mahato,was allegedly beaten to death by his employer for demanding revised wages in accordance with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA),in Bokaro on Saturday night.
According to NREGA Commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh,Mahato,a resident of Bathua village under Chas block in Bokaro district,was one of the nine workers hired to dig a well. The project,sanctioned for 2010-11,was undertaken by Bhagirath Rajwar,a resident of the same village.
The workers received wages through their post office accounts. However,although the government had revised the daily wages from Rs 99 to Rs 120 with effect from January 1 this year,Mahato and his co-workers were not paid the increased rates.
When he demanded that they should be paid on the basis of the revised rates,he was assaulted by Rajwar and his family members, claimed Mahatos wife,Kherhia Devi,in the FIR filed at Harla police station in Bokaro.
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While the incident occurred on Saturday night,the FIR was filed yesterday. Mahato was taken to the K K Memorial Hospital,where he was declared brought dead.
Taking cognizance of the FIR,the police have booked Bhagirath and five of his relatives,including wife Savitri Devi,on various charges including murder. None of the accused have been arrested so far.
Singh said an inquiry had been ordered into the incident. Asked why the labourers were not paid the revised wages,Chas BDO Ranthu Mahato said his office had received the circular in this regard on February 4. Though I had told everybody that the increased wages must be paid in the form of arrears,nobody followed it. So,wages were paid on the basis of the old rate to workers like Mahato,who had a bank deposit of Rs 720 in his account and had drawn Rs 396 on February 17, he said.
Feb 8,2007: Denied wages for over a month,Turia Munda,48,from Gitlidih village in Ranchi district,committed suicide.
July 2,2008: Tapas Soren set himself ablaze due to non-payment of wages at Charhi Chowk in Hazaribagh district.
May 14,2008: NREGA activist Lalit Mehta was shot dead in Daltonganj district.
June 7,2008: Kameshwar Yadav,another NREGA activist,was shot dead in Giridih district after he reportedly tried to expose people who were involved in siphoning funds.
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