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NREGS cash eludes councils

Shillong, July 18: The National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) appears to be in a shambles in Meghalaya with several job cardholders not receiving their wages on time.

A case in point is the plight of those falling under the village employment councils in Kharkutta block in Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills district.

Today, leaders of the Kharkutta Village Employment Council Development Association sought the intervention of Governor K.K. Paul over the delay in payment of wages to job card holders in the block.

According to association president John Sangma, there are 176 village employment councils and nearly 10,000 job cardholders in Kharkutta block. He pointed out that even after completion of work since August 2013, no payments have been made. The rural job scheme guidelines mention that wages must be paid within 15 working days after completion of the work, he added.

He also alleged that a lacunae in the rural job scheme existed where money could not be encashed since last year although documents were provided from the block development office.

Kharkutta block has been allotted only 48 of 100 working days, although the scheme guarantees 100 days of employment, he added.

“Apart from the delayed payments, no concrete explanation was given as to why only 48 days were allotted,” he said. No new work orders have been issued till date, unlike in the past where work orders rolled out from April.

“We fear that the funds meant for our welfare is being misused. We are disheartened by this slack and discouraging behaviour of officials and local leaders. We also want zero tolerance for corruption,” Sangma said in his letter to Paul.


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