MGNREGS beneficiaries pour out their woes

Scores of workers, mostly women, were seen braving the sweltering summer heat as they dug up the ‘Ganugu Cheruvu' at Upmaka mandal in the district on Saturday morning.

The sun was out in all its fury though it was just quarter past 10 a.m. They had come from different villages, some as far as 5-km away, in the hope of getting at least Rs.100 a day for the work entrusted to them under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme.Some of them say they have been engaged in the work for about a month now but they haven't been paid a single paisa till date.

“We are paying Rs.10 for the auto to reach the work spot and return home. We have to bring our own implements (crowbar and basket) for digging out and dumping the soil along the bund. They (supervisors) gave us slips, promising to pay wages. But the same haven't been paid to this day,” they said.

“People like you come and go, but no one has done anything for us,” said a woman, as some others joined chorus to express their anguish to journalists who were on their way to cover the visit of CPI(M) State secretary B.V. Raghavulu.

The workers report at the work spot at 7 a.m. and are supposed to end their day at noon. But, sometimes they have to stay back till 1 p.m. J. Ramanamma of Palem village has been deserted by her husband, who married another woman. She has to take care of the education of her son and daughter, who are studying in 8 and 6 classes respectively.

“I have been working here for about a month now. I have been issued the work slips but haven't received money so far,” she told this reporter in a voice choked with emotion.

Mr. Raghavulu assured them that he would take up the issue with the Chief Minister and ensure justice was done to them. Workers have to be paid at least Rs.100 a day in addition to summer allowance of Rs.37 and transportation charges. The payment should also be made once in every 15 days, failing which interest should be paid for the delay.

Inquiry sought

He also found fault with the variation in the amount of wages being calculated for the same amount of work for workers under different groups. and expressed the suspicion that funds under the scheme were being misappropriated. He demanded an inquiry into the issue and justice to the workers and threatened to launch an agitation otherwise.