'Kayaka sanghas' show the way

'Kayaka sanghas' show the way

Women in Ilanthila gram panchayat in Belthangady taluk find the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to be empowering, resulting in financial independence to a certain extent.

About 70 women through four kayaka sanghas have been engaged in work on levelling land, planting saplings in anganwadi and school premises and digging wells.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) has provided them the much-needed relief. Their enthusiasm for the works under the scheme is so perceptible that they have been demanding work to be implemented in the gram panchayat limits.

Duggappa Gowda and Padmanabha Kumbara, beneficiaries of the scheme have been depending on water supplied by the gram panchayat, for their daily needs. However, for the last few days, they are no more depending on the pipe water. Instead, wells have been dug in their land which supplies enough water, thanks to the initiative of the Kayaka Sangha.

Gram panchayat member and MGNREGS labourer Sumathi said Jyothi and Spoorthi Kayaka Sanghas have been actively involved in development works.

The scheme has brought about changes in the lives of rural people, especially the Dalits. The MGNREGS here has helped them to meet everyday needs of household in the short run and strategic needs in the long run. It has reduced the dependence on male family members for their basic needs.

She said “about 15 women are regular at work. All these women were  rolling beedis for the past several years. However, we were finding it difficult to fetch even Rs 200 per week. With MGNREGS, we get Rs 1044 per week.”

She said around 10 women labourers levelled a hillock situated adjacent to the gram panchayat building, so that the gram panchayat will get enough space to conduct gram sabhas. Normally, the gram panchayat had to depend on school for conducting gram sabhas. With the levelling of the land, now we can conduct the programmes adjacent to the GP building.”

She said that the work on eight wells have been taken up in the GP limits. “We women only dig the land identified for well for three days. After three days, two male labourers join us. The work on six wells are in progress and the beneficiaries will get water during peak summer and need not depend on the gram panchayat to supply water.”

At the same time, the Kayaka Sanghas in the gram panchayat limits have planted fruit-bearing plants in the premises of three government schools, anganwadi centres and the gram panchayat. Saplings of papaya, chikkoo, and drum sticks have been planted.

MGNREGS Ombudsman Sheena Shetty said “Kayaka Sanghas in Ilanthila gram panchayats have been a model in the district. Women labourers have been contributing towards the sustainable development of the village.”

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