Staff Reporter

State will resist Central plan, says Kerala Minister

Centre to reduce the wages from

Rs. 125 to Rs. 100

State wants the wages to be raised to Rs. 200

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre should maintain status quo on wages given under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and desist from reducing the wages from the current Rs.125 to Rs.100, Kerala Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said on Wednesday.

He was speaking at the inauguration of extraction of sand, on an experimental basis, from the outer reaches of the Aruvikkara reservoir near here. Kerala would initiate multi-pronged moves, including the legal route, to put pressure on the Central government on that matter. Most importantly, the State government would take the matter to the people of Kerala.

The Centre’s move came at a time when Kerala had been demanding that the wages be raised to Rs.200. Till now, the wages were decided by the individual States.

The States would have to spend crores of rupees more on the NREGS if the Centre went ahead with the decision. This was something that the States could ill afford to do, Dr. Isaac said.

There had been criticism that the NREGS had not been implemented properly in the State.

The government was clear that it did not want “something to be done somehow” under the NREGS. This year man days worth a pay out of Rs.1,000 crore would be generated under the scheme.

On the first day of sand extraction at Aruvikkara, 200 labourers would be pressed into service. In about a week’s time the number would grow to 1,000. Based on the success of the pilot programme, de-silting of small dams in the State would be undertaken very soon. Those include the Poomala dam in Thrissur and the Meenkara and Chulliyar dams in Palakkad. Six months of preparation had gone into the pilot project at Aruvikkara.