Biswajit probes MGNREGS complaints, assures action

IMPHAL, 1st Sep: Following reports on social media claiming wrongdoings in awarding man-days to job card-holders under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (RD&PR) minister Thongam Biswajit Singh conducted an on-the-spot enquiry at Konthoujam Gram Panchayat and asked officials concerned to provide relevant details.
After conduct of the enquiry by officials of the department, the minister asserted that actions would be initiated against all those found guilty of wrongdoings.
Acting on the video posted on social media on Monday, Biswajit made a surprise visit to the Konthoujam Assembly Constituency Gram Panchayat Tuesday morning.
In the video, a woman from Konthoujam Makha Leikai Ward No. 5 claimed that she had to work alone for four man-days.
During the spot enquiry, the woman recounted her claims before the minister and officials of the department. She apprised the minister that the Ward member informed all job-card holders in the area that payment will be made for only 16 man-days of the allotted 20 as the area is in a containment zone.
She further informed the Minister that while others seem to be okay with the member’s action, she could not agree with it and told the member that she would like to work for all the 20 man-days since her family had no other means of earning due to the present lockdown. Accordingly, the Minister gave a strong instruction to the officials accompanying him to look into the matter. During the enquiry, officials corroborated the woman’s statement with related documents and found that all other job-card holders had given their signatures to an agreement with the member to work for only 16 of the 20 man-days, whereas the woman alone had decided to work for all allotted 20 man-days. Further, it came to light that the GRS concerned had also failed to take signatures of job-card holders for works executed earlier.
Following the official findings, Biswajit announced that action would be taken up against those found guilty and instructed the officials to conduct a more detailed enquiry into the incident. He then affirmed that anyone found doing wrong deliberately will not be spared and action initiated at the earliest.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inspection, Biswajit termed as unfortunate that such an incident has occurred at a time when the government is trying to enhance rural livelihood during the lockdown through proper implementation of the scheme in the state.
Further encouraging proper implementation of the scheme by following all proper guidelines and protocols, he said that job-card holders can now focus on individual benefit schemes like plantation of lemon-grass, citronella, mushroom cultivation, animal farming, etc., under the MGNREGS, as these individual benefit schemes will ensure a sustainable future. Biswajit further urged all to ensure that such incidents are not repeated in the future and that all concerned work in unity to enhance rural livelihood through the scheme. He added that the central government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been showing concern and encouragement for the job-card holders to overcome the hardships faced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He then complimented the woman for her determination to work and provide her with an additional payment for 50 man-days as an act of encouragement. The person of the Ward who highlighted the woman’s issue before the Minister and authorities concerned was also feted for ensuring that card holders are not denied their rights.
The minister further urged the local youth clubs and Meira Paibis to continue cooperating and supporting the authorities in the proper implementation of the scheme and to highlight any grievances to the authorities through the official toll free number.
He then said that the habit of sharing payments between the authorities and job-cardholders without executing actual work should be stopped at once, while asserting that the remaining amount for the 4 Man-days should be properly utilised.
Biswajit also instructed the officials to ensure that those willing to work for the remaining four man-days are able to get work and that the remaining amount be utilised in the neighbouring ward.
The minister was accompanied by officials of the department also inspected works executed under the MGNREGS at Ahallup Bamdiar Makha Leikai.

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