Speaking to Deccan Herald, MGNREGS Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said 21 Gram Panchayats including 13 in Mangalore, 3 in Belthangady, 1 in Puttur and 4 in Sullia have not yet begun the work and the ZP CEO and the Ombudsman have already given a notice. “Lack of interest from the Panchayat officials as well as wage workers in demanding work can be main reason,” said Shetty.
“There is no demand from workers. An environment to work can always be created but until the workers demand for work, the scheme cannot be implemented,” said ZP CEO P Shivshankar.
He further added that the ZP nodal officers have been asked to conduct meetings in all the taluks and also visit the taluks and talk to the workers and find reasons why they are not interested to work under the scheme.
Citing various reasons on the possibilities for no demand in work, he said that last year the wage was linked to performance and the labourer could have earned more than the minimum wage but this year though the performance is linked, the wage is cut off to the minimum. The wage workers also had an opportunity to develop land for APL families last year in various ways such as levelling it, digging wells, water harvesting structures and others, but this year, the work is not taken up, which can be another reason. The GP level officer could have sanctioned upto Rs 10 lakhs for works, previously, but now it has been limited to Rs 1 lakh, said the ZP CEO.
He further added that strict measures are undertaken to see that the officials work properly. The Gram Panchayat secretary has to pay unemployment allowance from his salary in case he is not been able to give work to the labourers within 15 days of the work demand.
Misuse of funds
Ombudsman Sheena Shetty informed that the MGNREGS funds have been misused in Puduvettu Gram Panchayat in Belthangady Taluk and Kotekar in Mangalore Taluk.
In Puduvettu, Rs 84,143 has been misused in 11 works and in Kotekar, Rs 15,400 has been misused in 4 works.
The Gram Panchayats have confessed the misuse had have returned the money along with a fine of Rs 1,000 , said the Ombudsman.
“Strict action is taken against the fund misuse and the rules are made stricter which can be another reason for less demand of work,” said the Zilla Panchayat CEO.