"Government violating norms"

Food-for-work programme benefited private contractors: Vasan

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president, G.K. Vasan, has criticised the Government for violating norms prescribed by the Centre for implementing the Centrally-sponsored "Food-for-work" programme.

In a statement on Monday, Mr. Vasan said the Centre had selected Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Villupuram and Tiruvannamalai districts for implementing the programme.

There was a specific condition that works taken up under the scheme should be done manually to provide jobs to unemployed agricultural workers during off-season. Unfortunately, the Government entrusted the works to private contractors, who were using machines for executing the work, thereby depriving employment opportunities to workers.

Already the Government had completed 80 per cent of the works in these four districts under the programme, which had "benefited middlemen and private contractors."

The purpose of the scheme, he said, was defeated by the State's method of execution.

Similarly, in the tsunami relief programme, he said there were complaints that a majority of affected people did not receive enough assistance. Reports of affected people resorting to agitations were received from different parts of the State.

Though the Government formed a district-level monitoring committee to supervise the rehabilitation programme, they seldom met.

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