D.K. Kishan Rao

Of Rs. 41.75 crore received for the scheme only Rs.7.37 crore has been spent

Raichur: Laxmamma from Thimmapur village under Kanihal Gram Panchayat in Lingsugur taluk, has no more than two acres of dry land. Sunflower cultivation on this piece of land has failed owing to pest attack.

Her survival depends on employment provided under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. She filed an application with the gram panchayat five months ago, but the authorities, except for issuing an identity card, failed to provide her employment.

Laxmamma, whose husband is no more, cannot migrate to a city in search of a job because her only daughter is studying in the second standard.

The situation of Gangamma of Ameengad village in Manvi taluk is similar, except that in her case her children have stopped studying and have migrated to Bangalore in search of work.

Mallamma, of Machpalli village under Gugal Gram Panchayat in Deodurga taluk, has five children. Her husband is no more. She finds herself in a hopeless situation because her crops of bajra, cotton and sesame have failed owing to lack of rainfall. All her children, dropouts at the primary school level, have been working as labourers in the fields. Five months ago she filed an application at the gram panchayat seeking employment under the scheme. But the gram panchayat has failed to commence work stating that it has not received any funds.

Stories of this kind abound in rain-starved Raichur district. Thousands of poor families from rural areas have been facing difficulties even though they have been issued job cards and promised employment under NREGS.

According to official records, about two lakh people have filed their applications seeking employment under the scheme. Of these, 1.25 families have opened their bank accounts. This year, the zilla panchayat has received about Rs. 41.75 crore for implementing NREGS in the district in addition to the previous year’s balance of Rs.10.15 crore. But the authorities concerned have not been able to provide employment to the needy. So far, it has spent only about Rs.7.37 crore.

The affected families, under the banner of Navajeevan Mahila Okkuta, an NGO, have been staging a dharna on the premises of the Deputy Commissioner’s office since October 31. They plan to continue their agitation until their demands are met.