Agricultural labour unions say the central government is weakening the MNREGA job scheme. (DC file photo)
Kothagudem: The number of working days to be provided to unemployed persons in the villages under the MNREGS (Mahathma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Scheme) is being reduced year on year. In Bhadradri-Kothagudem district, it fell by 23.07 lakh days in 2022-23 over the previous year.
Admittedly, the number of days in 2021-22 was increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The working days were fixed in 2021-22 at 88.98 lakh days and 65.91 lakh days in 2022-23. Agricultural labour unions claim that the Centre is weakening the job scheme by starting reducing the working days.
A.J. Ramesh, agricultural farm labourers’ union leader, said that the Centre is trying to shut the scheme in a phased manner and the reduction of working days is a part of it.
On the other hand, the slow pace of laying cement roads has turned out to be a curse to job-seekers. Efforts are being made to complete the internal roads before March 31 and contractors are facing immense pressure from officials on that front. Incidentally, the commencement of these works was delayed for two months.
The government-sanctioned Rs 13.85 crore for laying 235 cement roads in 195 villages in 16 mandals in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district — Cunchupalli, Karakagudem, Manuguru, Burgumpahad, Dammapet, Laxmidevipalli, Mulakalapalli, Paloncha, Sujathanagar, Aswapuram, Annapureddypalli, Aswaraopet, Chandrugonda, Allapalli, Pinapaka and Julurpad.
The aim of the government is to prevent pools of water forming which could lead to breeding of mosquitoes. The officials identified most backward habitations for the purpose. Labourers who have MNREGS job cards, are being engaged in the work.
Twenty-four cement roads are being laid in Pinapaka mandal followed by 22 Dammapet mandal. The villages are located near the forest areas and almost all the people belonged to Scheduled Tribes.