BARPETA, Feb 26 � Though both the governments in Delhi and Dispur are prominently advertising about the scope of employment through the ambitious schemes of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), it has become a farce as far as their implementation in Barpeta district is concerned. Inadequate funds together with proper schemes and indifference of the people and the administration have paralysed the inherent principle of the act.
As per information available, there are 2.49 lakh job card holders in the district. But a meagre Rs 17 crore was received during the last fiscal 2013-14. As per MGNREGA norms 40 per cent of the allocated funds is meant for materials, while the remaining 60 per cent is for wages to the job card holder labourers. The allocated funds clearly indicate that average work days for the labourers were less than three days during the last fiscal. The condition of the current year 2014-15 is worse than the previous year as only an amount of Rs 7 crore has been received by the district as on January 31 towards the MGNREGA schemes.
The ambitious scheme was introduced to provide a minimum of 100 days� employment to rural landless labourers. But in a district belaboured by recurring floods and erosion, it has provided only three to four days of works in most of the gaon panchayats. Discrepancies in allotment of funds under MGNREGA have also been alleged as some districts of the State with less population and job cards than Barpeta have been allotted more fund.
The panchayati raj institution (PRI) members are clueless about the entire happenings regarding MGNREGA. When contacted some elected presidents of gaon panchayats and members of anchalik panchayats informed that they have submitted several schemes to the DRDA for implementation under MGNREGA. But most of the schemes are lying without being disposed of by the authorities on the plea of insufficient fund.
Another important revelation by the PRI members is that they have not received any demand for job from any job card holder labourers till now. It means that the labourers for whom such an Act is being implemented are not at all aware of their rights, as according to the provisions of the law, they can claim job and the authorities are bound to engage them within a fortnight.
Lack of proper attitude by the government, inefficiency and negligence of the officials together with the ignorance and indifference of the people for which it is meant have nipped the basic principles of this mass welfare Act in the bud in Barpeta district. Though some poor people are still languishing in abject penury no one, even the so-called alert political parties, has raised any effective voice for a fruitful implementation of the provisions of the Act.
If the situation remains so this Act will remain in words only as far as the situation in Barpeta district is concerned.