Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: N. Manjunath, MLC and Chairman, Scheduled Castes Department, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, on Thursday alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party Government had failed to identify the beneficiaries through the village panchayats under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, depriving lakhs of people from getting jobs for 100 days a year.

Speaking to presspersons, the Congress leader blamed the State Government for the tardy implementation of the poverty alleviation programmes such as the NREGS, issuing ration cards to the BPL families, uninterrupted power supply to the villages, affecting the children’s education.

Instead of accusing the Centre of not giving funds, he said that the government should utilise the NREGS funds.

Surprise

Mr. Manjunath expressed his surprise over the demand made by Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister Shobha Karandlaje to the Union RDPR Minister C.P. Joshi for raising the wages under the NREGS to Rs. 96 from Rs. 82.

Perhaps, he said she did not know that the United Progressive Alliance government was raising it to Rs.100 as promised in the Congress manifesto.

Mr. Manjunath demanded that there should be uniform wages, as it was a national scheme.

He said that it was Rs. 140 in Haryana, Rs. 122 in Kerala, Rs. 90 in Tamil Nadu and Rs. 87 in Andhra Pradesh. He alleged that the government had failed to give monthly honorarium of Rs. 250 to village panchayat members, as assured by the Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa. Instead, the village panchayats had been asked to pay it from out of their own resources, he added.

Reminding Mr. Yeddyurappa of his promise to constitute the M.M. Hills Development Authority for developing infrastructure to cater to the devotees coming from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, apart from Karnataka, he said that the temple trust could not use its funds amounting to Rs. 48 crore for the purpose without government permission.

Sand mining

The MLC, who won from the local body constituency comprising 16 Assembly segments in Mysore and Chamarajanagar districts, urged the government to stop illegal sand mining in Cauvery and Kapila river beds in T. Narasipura and Talakad. He urged for re-construction of the century-old bridge across Kapila as it could not withstand the vehicular traffic.

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