The Vigilance and Monitoring Committee, formed to monitor the implementation of the Central government schemes, would recommend to the Union government that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) 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 from farmers over the acute shortage of labour during the agricultural season and demand for deferring the scheme during agricultural operations.

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

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

The district had been allotted Rs.152.70 by the Union government and Rs.16 crores by the State government under the schemes during the current year. About 60 to 80 per cent of the works sanctioned for the year have been completed in the district. The committee would meet hereafter once in three months to review the progress of the schemes.

MLAs absent

Mr. Napoleon expressed regret over the absence of the MLAs from the district and some of the panchayat union chairmen in the meeting though all of them were extended invitations. “It is regrettable that the MLAs from the district, except M.Rajasekaran (Congress), and seven or eight panchayat union chairmen were absent. We could make a correct assessment only with their participation,” he observed and added that the two Ministers, K.N.Nehru and N.Selvaraj, were away at Chennai attending a Cabinet meeting in Chennai and hence could not be present.

Mr.Napoleon, who heads the committee for Karur and Perambalur districts also, said the committee meetings have already been held in the two districts.

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

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