Staff Reporter

Programme to be re-launched in the district on May 1

KOCHI: Ernakulam district lags behind in the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP), said a review meeting held here on Tuesday.

Kottayam and Thiruvananthapuram are the other two districts that are behind in the State. The programme, a flagship project of the United Progressive Alliance government, was extended to Ernakulam, along with other nine districts of the State, on April 1 under the third phase when all districts in the country were brought under the scheme.

However, the scheme never got off the ground in Ernakulam owing to the slow progress of the preparatory works. Many panchayats have not even started vetting the applications received under the scheme.

So far, there had been 1.22 lakh registrations, mainly women, from over 58,000 families. Realising that it has much catching up to do, the district administration has now fixed May 1 for the re-launch of the scheme. Lonappan Nambadan, MP, will re-launch it at Manjapra grama panchayat in Angamali.

The aim is to launch the scheme in at least one ward in every panchayat of the district on the day.

Elaborating on the reasons behind the lackadaisical implementation of the project, District Collector M. Beena said that the posts of data entry operator and engineer (or overseer) were yet to be filled in all the panchayats.

The issue of photo-affixed job cards to the applicants, which was supposed to be completed by March, had not reached anywhere. The photographing process was progressing at Akshaya centres, which had been entrusted with the job. Panchayats had been instructed to buy digital cameras as Akshaya centres without cameras could make use of them. The panchayats were yet to draw up the works to be assigned under the NREGP. Dr. Beena told presspersons that the scope for the scheme in Ernakulam was limited owing to the district’s urban nature.

She said the scheme would attract more women than men as the daily wage of Rs. 125 would not be attractive enough for the latter.