|October 9, 2013 at 1:49 pm #4710|
Implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Rural Guarantee scheme has evoked a lukewarm received in Salcete, especially in coastal pockets of the taluka dependent on tourism.
In the two village panchayats of Benaulim and Orlim along Salcete’s coastal belt, the scheme has been a non-starter till date, with RDA officials saying that not a single project was executed in these villages.
Inquiries revealed that like many a panchayat, both Orlim and Benaulim had registered job cards to the unemployed, but neither the applicants were provided any jobs nor any project was executed under the scheme.
When Herald contacted Benaulim Sarpanch Royla Fernandes to throw light on the NREG scheme, she came up with a startling revelation that many people were enrolled in the past with a promise that they would be paid fixed wages. “My Panchayat is very much interested in starting the scheme all over again by making the job cards and complying with the necessary guidelines,” Royla said, while lamenting that the panchayat has not received the scheme manual how to go about with the scheme.
Royla admitted that the scheme is not at all attractive for any unemployed youth for a paltry wage of Rs 157 per day, when they can be gainfully employed somewhere else on the coastal belt. “The panchayat will give the scheme a try. Hopefully in the next two months, the village should see projects executed under the scheme,” she added, while disclosing plans to write to the panchayat secretary to convene a special gram sabha to discuss the scheme.
Royla’s Orlim counterpart, Gaudencio Luis admitted that the panchayat has not taken up any projects under NREG in the village. “There are a lot of issues involved in respect of employment. I have made it clear that that I will not allow any manipulation or fraud to implement the scheme,” he added. However, like his Benaulim counterpart, Gaundencio says he intends to implement the scheme by taking up works in respect of drainage cleaning, de-silting of water bodies, cutting of bushes.
Apparently, taking cognisance of the ground reality, both Royla and Gaudencio are not opposed to engaging labourers from other panchayat areas to execute the projects under the scheme.
“The officials have promised to arrange labourers from outside the village to execute the projects under the scheme if workers are not available locally,” the duo maintained.
Source/Reference: Herald, “Orlim, Benaulim panchayats want to implement NREG scheme“