MGNREGA workers in West Bengal hit streets, demand payment of pending wages

Wages amounting to ₹2,800 crore are pending with the Centre

Published - June 25, 2022 02:47 am IST - Kolkata

A file photo of women working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

A file photo of women working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

Dipali Mahato was among the hundreds of workers who gathered in front of the District Magistrate’s office in Purulia on Friday, demanding wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

“I have not received wages amounting to ₹8,000. The last time I worked under a 100 days employment scheme was in January this year,” Dipali said. A mother of two daughters, the 35-year-old resident of Podlara village in Purulia I block said that her husband had migrated to Ranchi for work as there was no payment for work under the job guarantee scheme.

Hundreds of workers whose wages for MGNREGA work are pending like Dipali, hit the streets in Purulia in West Bengal under the banner of Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS). Anuradha Talwar of PBKMS said that workers have to suffer because of the tussle between the Centre and West Bengal government on the MGNREGA scheme. 

“Wages of workers amounting to ₹2,800 crore are pending with the Centre. The wages are directly transferred to the account of beneficiaries. In this case, work has already been completed. The workers are suffering because of non-payment of wages,” Ms. Talwar said.

The overall payment dues for MGNREGA pending in West Bengal is about ₹7,500 crore. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said that funds have been disbursed under MGNREGA since December 2021. A delegation of Trinamool Congress leaders had earlier this month met Giriraj Singh, Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj in Delhi and demanded that the Centre should clear MGNREGA dues for West Bengal .

During the day, representatives of NREGA Sangarsh Samity and PBKMS met the director of MGNREGA in New Delhi. PBKMS representatives said that during the discussion, the director said that the State government has not submitted a labour budget relating to the implementation of the scheme. According to the Centre and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership, the West Bengal government has not conducted necessary audits relating to the scheme in the past few years.  

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