CPI(M) State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) should be extended to urban areas in the State.
Inaugurating a meet of workers of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Workers’ Union (NREGWU) held here as part of a two-day State conference of the union, Mr. Vijayan said there was very little difference between urban and rural areas in Kerala.
He said the new method of distributing subsidy through bank accounts would lead to a situation where rice for Rs.2 would have to be bought at Rs.8.90. “In several States including Kerala, many families will not be able to afford foodgrains at this price. This will lead to starvation and eventually may lead to starvation deaths,” he said.
He said the Centre was cutting short the allotment to MGNREGS as it was not interested in the scheme. He called upon the Union activists to strongly raise their various demands including increasing a hike in wages from Rs.165 to Rs.320.
NREGWU State president S. Rajendran presided over the meet. CPI(M) Central Committee member P.K. Sreemathi, Alappuzha district secretary C.B. Chandrababu, and Union secretary M.V. Balakrishnan spoke.
The two-day conference concluded here on Sunday with the election of office-bearers. Mr. Rajendran and Mr. Balakrishnan were re-elected president and secretary respectively. A 44-member State committee and 15-member executive committee were also formed on the occasion.