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MGNREGA empowers women in Munnur Gram Panchayat

Naina J A, Mangalore, Apr 29, 2013, DHNS : 23:31 IST

The Rs 7-lakh canal desilting work taken up at Thevula

Women labourers take up desilting of a canal at Thevula in Munnur gram panchayat.
When a majority of the gram panchayat officials are busy in Assembly polls and denying the employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) citing the reason of model code of conduct, Munnur gram panchayat has initiated desilting work for 2013-14.

Economic independence of women and the gram panchayat is boosted by MGNREGA and this has been proved in Munnur gram panchayat in Mangalore taluk.

The Rs 7-lakh desilting work of a canal commenced on April 15. Of the 50 labourers engaged in the work, 45 are women. The canal passes through Konaje, Belma, Amblamogaru and Munnur gram panchayats and the desilting will benefit more than 100 people. About one and half kilometres of the canal passes through Thevula at Munnur gram panchayat.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Shashikala, a labourer, said “due to silt, there is artificial flooding during monsoon. The flood was causing losses to farmers. Hence, we had decided to take up the work before the onset of monsoon.

With the shortage of water, the farmers could not grow paddy twice in a year. The removal of silt will help in storing water by constructing bunds. This will also improve the water table around the canal,” she said.

Normally, the water in the canal flows till January-February. By removing the silt, water can be stored for the crops.

“It is difficult to work in outdoor during peak summer. However, when we work together as a group, we forget the heat of the summer. We work from 9 am to 2 pm.”

Another labourer said “we were rolling beedi in the past several years. However, we were finding it difficult to earn even Rs 50 per day. With MGNREGA, we get Rs 174 per day. For many of us getting work in our village and to be paid a minimum wage is a big thing. The scheme has increased people's participation in the Gram Panchayats on what work must be undertaken.”

Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said “the MGREGA promises revolutionary demand-driven and people-centric development programmes. By providing employment to the job seekers when the election fever had gripped the officials, Munnur gram panchayat has become a model. The gram panchayat had taken up development work worth Rs 20.50 lakh during 2012-13.

There are 319 job card holders in the GP limits and 196 households were given employment last year.” The gram panchayat is also planning to take up the work on planting saplings beside the canal during monsoon by utilising the funds available under MGNREGA and thus create greenery in the vicinity.

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