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Job scheme: outfit begins fast over non-payment of wages

Staff Correspondent
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Up in arms:Grameena Coolie Karmikara Sanghatane members staging a protest inRaichur on Thursday.
Up in arms:Grameena Coolie Karmikara Sanghatane members staging a protest inRaichur on Thursday.

Grameena Coolie Karmikara Sanghatane members began an indefinite fast here on Thursday against the non-payment of wages to those employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA).

State general secretary of the outfit Abhay began the fast on the first day outside the zilla panchayat office and said more people would join him in the coming days.

It is learnt that about 40 gram panchayats in Raichur district have not paid workers employed under MNREGA in 2012–13. The pending amount is around Rs. 40 lakh. Over 2,000 families have been affected.

Protesters claimed the payments were not made even though funds were released. “Initially, the officers concerned said there were no funds to pay wages. Our organisation approached Vijayanand, Additional Secretary, Rural Development, and got the funds released. However, workers still haven’t been paid,” Mr. Abhay said.

“The officers withheld the payment on the pretext of the model code of conduct being in place. But the Election Commission itself has clarified that the poll code doesn’t apply to MNRGEA work and payment,” he added.

He accused the Raichur Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer of delaying the payment.

The workers demanded that the government immediately clear dues, distribute job cards among those eligible within a week, take action against officials who failed to ensure payment on time, and impose a fine on engineers who don’t turn up at the spot when projects begin.

‘Forty gram panchayats in Raichur have not paid MNREGA workers in 2012–13’

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