Special Correspondent

Questions motive behind combining works

JAIPUR: Congress general secretary Ashok Gehlot has questioned the Rajasthan Government's motive behind combining drought relief programmes with works under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). "The decision will deprive eligible persons in the six selected districts of guaranteed jobs for 100 days a year," he pointed out.

"The State Government is seemingly trying to save money on relief works," Mr. Gehlot said talking to a group of newspersons here.

"As on April 1, 2006, the State Government had Rs.800 crore from the Calamity Relief Fund and other sources for relief operations," he said. "The Government is depriving the poor and farmers of their rightful share of jobs under NREGA."

Mr. Gehlot said the jobs under NREGS, in place of drought relief, also deprived the labourers of the wheat component in the latter.

The former Chief Minister charged that the State Government, even after a formal announcement, did not reduce the working hours for labourers employed under drought relief.

Referring to the "mid-term" claims of the BJP Government whose tenure is half way through in the State now, Mr.Gehlot said the tenure had a bloody track record of 16 deaths in police firing and "wide ranging corruption".