Collector C.T. Manimekalai has refuted allegations that the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme suffered a setback during elections and has starved the farm sector of labour force.

In a statement released here, she noted that of the 35 weeks from April to November (that had seen the Assembly elections and the local body elections), jobs were provided to beneficiaries under the scheme for 33 weeks and wages amounting to Rs. 119 crore were disbursed.

She would not concur with the view that after the launch of the rural job scheme, labourers were less attracted to the farm sector. Defending her stance, Ms. Manimekalai said that since the beneficiaries were engaged only for 100 days in a year, the argument that the scheme affected farming operation sounded hollow. As many as 3,641 works were taken up under the scheme and every stage of their implementation was closely monitored by the designated officials. However, she warned that any lapse on the part of the executing authority would attract legal action.

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