Jadhav, Kharge lock horns over MGNREGA dues

Umesh Jadhav, Lok Sabha member from Kalaburagi, presiding over the DISHA meeting in Kalaburagi on Tuesday; and (right) Priyank Kharge, MLA for Chittapur, speaking at the meeting.

Umesh Jadhav, Lok Sabha member from Kalaburagi, presiding over the DISHA meeting in Kalaburagi on Tuesday; and (right) Priyank Kharge, MLA for Chittapur, speaking at the meeting.  

The dues payable from the Centre to the State government as payment of wages to labourers who had worked under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) led to a heated exchange between Lok Sabha member from Kalaburagi Umesh Jadhav and MLA for Chittapur Priyank Kharge at the District Development Coordination and Monitoring Committee (DISHA) meeting here on Tuesday.

When Mr. Kharge brought to the notice of the meeting that the State government had spent around ₹2,300 crore to pay workers under the scheme and the Union government had not yet reimbursed this even two years later, Mr. Jadhav attempted to downplay the issue by stating that it was more important that the labourers of the district received their wages, irrespective of who paid them.

“When the Union government did not fund its own programme, the State government had to come to the rescue of the labourers by paying from its own exchequer hoping to get reimbursed later. However, the Union government has not reimbursed this amount so far. Karnataka is perhaps the only State in the country that took the measure in the larger interest of the labourers. Diverting State funds for the Central scheme would hamper the State’s interest and the Centre is indifferent to this,” Mr. Kharge reiterated.

Mr. Jadhav, who was expected to express his efforts to put pressure on the Centre and get the State reimbursed, furthered the debate by questioning Mr. Kharge’s intention in raising the issue.

“Your only intention is to blame the Centre. The issue of dues payable from the Union government payable to the State was supposed to be discussed in the State-level DISHA meeting and not at the district meeting,” he told Mr. Kharge. The debate, however, ended with an assurance by Mr. Jadhav to make serious effort to get the State government reimbursed.

Railway works

As the meeting began in the morning, the agenda of railway works was first taken up for discussion. However, the agenda was dropped after Mr. Kharge took serious exception to the Railways official attending the meeting without any preparedness and information.

“The Railways officials have not taken the meeting seriously. Though the Lok Sabha constituency is covered by three Railway Divisions, only one officer representing Solapur Division is present with little information,” he said.

Deputy Commissioner Sharat B. asked the railway official why he had come to the meeting when he had little information and was not authorised to represent the three Railway Divisions. Mr. Jadhav directed Mr. Sharat and ZP CEO Raja P. to issue notices to divisions seeking explanations for their absence.

Suvarna Hanamantha Malaji, ZP president; Rahul Pandve, Kalaburagi City Municipal Commissioner; M.Y. Patil, Avinash Jadhav, Subhash Guttedar and Kaneez Fatima, MLAs; B.G. Patil, MLC; and others were present.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 1:12:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/jadhav-kharge-lock-horns-over-mgnrega-dues/article29570116.ece

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