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NREGA brings smiles in rural Tripura

By Prabir Sil

AGARTALA, July 24 � For Jayati Sarkar (40) of Chandipur Gram Panchayat under Gournagar RD block in North Tripura district, the National Rural Guarantee Act (NREGA) is not merely an opportunity to earn money.

�It gives me scope to take care of my ailing husband - Nripendra Sarkar (57) who suffered a serious cardiac arrest two years ago�, said Ms Sarkar who got 100 man-days work under the national flagship programme-NREGA during the last financial year-2009-10.

�There was a time when I had to work in my neighbour�s house as maid servant to earn my family�s livelihood. But the REGA has given me a lot to lead a happy life upholding my dignity�, she said.

Anita Sharma (37), another woman from the same Gram Panchayat is also upbeat after getting 100-day work under the NREGA last financial year. �As of now, our monthly family income stands at Rs 2500- Rs 2800 and this is well enough to run the show�, she said.

�Now, I am looking forward to educate my son and daughter who are studying in class VIII and VI respectively in Chandipur HS School�, she added. REGA beneficiaries are virtually in a jubilant mood in West Tripura�s Padmabill RD block.

�We are getting at least 20 man-days under the REGA which fetches around Rs 1800 per month. This amount has been augmenting our family income�, said Malati Debbarma, a job card holder of Lankapura village of Padmabill block.

�The NREGA has brought a sea change in rural Tripura with average income of poor people swelling every day�, said BDO of Padmabill RD Block , Kamalesh Dahar.

He said that under the national flagship programme Rs 10 crore has been spent against different projects in the block which has 8039 job cards. �Around 5.78 lakh man-days were generated while on an average each card holder gets 79 man-days last financial year�, he pointed out.

In fact, transparency, accountability, monitoring, evaluation and physical performance has brought laurels to Tripura as it emerged as best performer in the NREGA implementation during the 2009-10 financial year.

This came to light at a review meeting of Ministry of Rural Development held at Delhi on July 17. The State has achieved 82 man-days job generation on an average which is more than that of national average 54 days.

Rural Development Minister Jitendra Chowdhury criticised the Centre for delay in releasing funds meant for the NREGA. �The RD Ministry had sanctioned an outlay of Rs 957 crore for 2009-10 but the State has received only Rs 725 crore and Rs 232 crore is yet to be cleared by it�, he pointed out.

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