Only 276 households completed 150 days of work in drought-hit Odisha

December 02, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 24, 2016 01:22 pm IST - BHUBANESWAR:

The Odisha government’s tall claim of providing succour to people in drought-hit regions through job creation under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) appears to be mere lip service as only 276 households in the State could complete 150 days of work.

As per reply furnished in the State Assembly on Tuesday, only 276 households in 139 drought-hit blocks have been provided 150 days of work.

“The Union government has allowed 150 days of work in districts where water harvesting projects are being taken. Going a step further, the State government has announced to provide additional 50 days of works in 139 blocks identified to be hit by drought,” said Panchayati Raj Minister Arun Sahoo in a written reply.

As per drought-mitigation measures announced by the State government, MGNREGA works will be taken up by the Panchayati Raj Department to establish water harvesting structures, de-silting of field channels and diversion. As a pro-poor and pro-labour measure, an additional 30 per cent of wages will be paid to the labourers engaged in MGNREGA in drought-affected districts as drought allowance.

Further, development of private lands of the affected farmers could be taken up as a component under MGNREGA as an additional relief measure, it said. However, the implementation tells a different story. Despite demands for jobs, less than 300 households only could complete 150 days of work.

The Minister’s reply says in Bargarh, which has witnessed more number farmer suicides than any other districts, not a single household has got 150 days of work.

Kandhamal leads the table with 97 families completing 150 days of work followed by Bolangir with 58 households and Nuapada with 53 households. There are many districts where farmers ended lives anticipating loss of Kharif crop due to low rainfall, but not a single family completed 150 days of works during current financial year. The districts include Kalahandi, Subarnapur, Sambalpur and Dhenkanal.

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