The Vigilance and Monitoring Committee formed to monitor implementation of Central government schemes will recommend to the Union government that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) should be implemented during the non-agricultural season in Tiruchi district, D. Napoleon, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and chairman of the committee, said here on Thursday.

The move comes in the wake of widespread complaints of acute shortage of labour during agricultural season and demand for deferring the scheme during agricultural operations.

Answering a query at a press conference after the committee’s first meeting here, Mr. Napoleon said that the committee would take the demand into consideration and forward a report to the Centre.

The Minister said the meeting reviewed the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Indira Awas Yojana, Total Sanitation Campaign, Prime Minister’s Rural Roads Scheme, Integrated Watershed Management Programme and Swarnajayanthi Gram Swarozgar Yojana.

The district had been allocated Rs.152.70 crore by the Centre and Rs.16 crore by the State under the schemes during the current year. About 60 to 80 per cent of the works sanctioned had been completed.

The committee would, hereafter, meet once in three months to review the progress of the schemes.

MLAs absent

Mr. Napoleon expressed regret at the absence of MLAs from the district and some panchayat union chairmen at the meeting though all of them had been invited. “It is regrettable that the MLAs from the district, except M. Rajasekaran (Congress), and seven or eight panchayat union chairmen were absent. We can make a correct assessment only with their participation.”

He said two Ministers, K.N. Nehru and N. Selvaraj were away attending a Cabinet meeting in Chennai and hence could not be present.

Mr. Napoleon, who heads the committee for Karur and Perambalur districts too, said meetings had been held in the two districts.

Answering a question, he said the foundation stone for the government medical college at Perambalur would be laid by Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on February 4. Steps were being taken to complete the land acquisition for the Special Economic Zone in Perambalur.

T. Soundiah, Collector and Secretary of the committee, and others attended the meeting.