Advertisement

Home / West-bengal / Bengal public works department job plan to offset wage delay

Bengal public works department job plan to offset wage delay

The step has been taken because the govt has not been able to pay labourers for the additional 3 crore mandays of work it generated under the NREGA since December
Mamata Banerjee.
Mamata Banerjee.
File photo

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 22.05.22, 01:54 AM

The Bengal public works department has directed its executive engineers to identify its ongoing and upcoming projects where card-holders under the Centre’s 100-day rural job scheme MGNREGA can be engaged as unskilled labourers.

The step has been taken because the Bengal government has not been able to pay labourers for the additional 3 crore mandays of work it generated under the NREGA since December last year as the Centre has not cleared the Rs 3,000 crore sought for wage disbursal. 

“The executive engineers will identify those projects where NREGA job card-holders can be engaged in each block of the state. The list of projects will be shared with the district magistrates. The DMs will ask block-level officers to send NREGA job card-holders to work as unskilled labourers as per the requirement,” an official said.

Sources said chief minister Mamata Banerjee had told some departments to engage those registered with the NREGA in their projects because their wages have been pending for five months. The idea is to make paid work available to the labourers until the central funds come in.

“The PWD has started the process of involving workers registered with the 100-day job scheme. Departments like panchayat, irrigation and public health engineering will soon start similar initiatives,” another official said.

“The process has started with the initiatives of the PWD. But it is easier said than done to engage so many workers in government schemes as unskilled labourers,” a source said.

He said the departments were not carrying out any major work at the moment as no new important project had been undertaken over the past couple of years due to the financial crunch caused by the pandemic.

“Only some ongoing work is being carried out. The scope of engaging unskilled workers in some projects is limited. Some NREGA workers can be involved in the irrigation department’s earth-related projects. It is clear that not many people can be engaged in the state government schemes at the moment,” a bureaucrat said.

Some officials said the chief minister knew that this could be only a stopgap arrangement and getting funds cleared from Delhi was important.

“This is why the chief minister has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to clear wages worth Rs 3,000 crore pending for the past five months,” a source said.

“She wanted people who were not receiving wages for the past few months to get some money immediately. She wants to ensure that the rural populace don’t feel the pinch before the panchayat polls next year, considering that the NREGA is a major source of livelihood in villages,” the source added.

The officials said the state government would have to ensure that the Centre approves the additional 3 crore mandays at the earliest.

“The state government has to make the Centre understand that they were forced to create the additional mandays due to huge demand for jobs amid the pandemic,” a bureaucrat said.



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.