Nashik’s Trimbakeshwar tribal women ask for work and dignity on Labor Day 

“The experience of these women laborers in Trimbakeshwar shows that there are many difficulties in the implementation of the law”, a social worker said.

Updated - May 02, 2024 06:54 pm IST

Published - May 02, 2024 04:11 pm IST - Trimbakeshwar, Maharashtra

The tribal MGNREGA workers of Nashik

The tribal MGNREGA workers of Nashik | Photo Credit: Purnima Sah

On Labor Day tribal women workers of MNREGA scheme from Nirgud Pada village in Trimbakeshwar taluka, in Nashik, demand unemployment allowance after continuously demanding work under MGNREGA for almost three months.

On December 22, 2023, 101 women laborers of Nirgud Pada demanded regular work under MGNREGA Act. They were hoping to get a job in the village on January 1, 2024, but there was no sign of any job even by January 25. They filed a complaint in the gram sabha on January 26 and within a week they got work to construct a dam with stones.

However, one-third of the laborers were accommodated for this work and there was no work after this. “When we enquired with the gram sabha they told us that those who did not get work had not done KYC so they could not be given work as per government norms,” said one of the workers Gita Niragude.

The workers said they went to their respective banks to apply for KYC but since they do not understand English, they could not fill the forms. “The bank staff asked us to come the next day. The cycle went on for days as the banks got crowded every day. On February 21, there was a public hearing in the taluka panchayat samiti in Trimbakeshwar and Zilla Parishad Nashik. We all raised our concerns in the hearing with the help of local social workers. But the officials did not accept our demands and said it does not come under their jurisdiction,” said Sonali Niragude, one of the workers.

On February 17, the workers filed a grievance at Prime Minister’s portal with the help of a local NGO, BELIEFS, who works for the livelihood and empowerment of the tribal communities. “The deputy collector of Nashik asked us to take back the complaint filed at the PM’s portal but we refused. Then they suggested we open accounts in the post office. When we went to the post office, we were told that to open a new account in the post office, we need to have ₹200, Aadhaar card, PAN card and a mobile phone,” said Rakhama Bai Niragude, another worker.

On April 1, the women workers protested with a slogan, ‘The Government has Fooled Us’. “The experience of these women laborers in Trimbakeshwar shows that there are many difficulties in the implementation of the law. Women are deprived of work due to many reasons like lack of KYC, lack of bank account, lack of mobile phones among many other technical issues. Due to these difficulties, women face many unnecessary hardships to avail the benefits of MNREGA Act,” said Laxmikant Jadhav, from the NGO, BELIEFS.

Denying women laborers the right to work is not only a violation of law but also a matter of social justice. For women to get the right to work, the government needs to make the necessary changes immediately, he added.

“To empower women, the government, and bank, posts need to work together and be sensitive while imposing new decisions. For that, everyone must understand the struggle of these women of MGNREGA more closely,” said Mr. Jadhav.

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