A subcommittee constituted by the State government to collect opinion from the local bodies on the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) held its first sitting in the district on Saturday. The sitting led by committee chairman M. Murali collected suggestions from the heads of three-tier panchayats for the effective implementation of the scheme.

As per the collective decision taken during the sitting, one of the priority areas during the 2013-14 financial year will be the construction of playgrounds in grama panchayat areas. All the grama panchayats will be encouraged to submit proposals in this regard and execute them with the available labour force and fund under the scheme.

Already 28 grama panchayats in the district have begun the task utilising their own fund. The new scheme will mainly benefit the remaining 47 grama panchayats in the district. Along with this, the MGNREGS will utilise its financial resources for preparing fallow lands for cultivation and expanding the existing watershed projects.

The committee chairman also looked into the details of pending MGNREGS works in the district and those yet to be allotted to workers. The convergence of various other projects with the MGNREGS too would be crucial for the effective implementation of the scheme, he said.

K. Yusuf, Joint Project Coordinator of MGNREGS Cell in Kozhikode, said the district would benefit from a Central fund of Rs.137 crore during the 2013-14 financial year. “Of the total amount, the government has already granted us Rs.26 crore for beginning various schemes,” he said.

As per the official figures, over Rs.8 crore has already been spent for various projects since the beginning of the current financial year. A major portion of the remaining fund will be spent for supporting the playground development projects of the local bodies.

Mr. Yusuf said the district-specific priority list of the Kerala government would be submitted to the Central government by the subcommittee after the ongoing district-level sittings.

“Suggestions have already been made by various local self government bodies to include 19 more job categories in the MGNREGS and thus make the scheme more popular in the rural areas,” he added.

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