Women strive hard to make Munnur a model village

Women strive hard to make Munnur a model village

 The Gram Panchayat is truly a model for the district because there is one or the other distinct project being implemented from time to time. This time the Gram Panchayat has taken up social forestry project under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, specifically employing the women from the village.
The project is going on at three spots in the village, one at Madaka, at crematorium area and in ward 1 and under this project a total of 800 saplings of teak, jackfruit and other suitable varieties are being planted to encourage afforestation.

The highlight of the project is that it is the women from the village who are working for the sake of the village to ensure that the village, remains to be a model village. There are about 21 to 25 women who are working at Madaka, about 7 at crematorium area and another 10 women working in ward 1. These women come in groups with food, water and even spades and pick axe in their hand to the spot to dig out agriculture pits.
“We are doing this for the sake of our village. Men are not willing to take up this work because the wage is low. If they go out to dig pits, they can earn about Rs 300 per day as against Rs 82 to Rs 100 that is given under this scheme,” say the women.
Munnur Gram Panchayat Member Chandravathi who is also a beneficiary of the scheme comes near the crematorium every morning along with her comrades. She and her counterparts have taken up the job of digging pits near the crematorium, which is a hilly, rocky terrain.

She says that the women from the village are doing the work with love for the village but the Government is not gauging the work in right terms. “The minimum pay was Rs 82 and the maximum we could earn was Rs 125. Now they have fixed the wages to Rs 100, that is, we get Rs 100 if we dig 5 pits. This wage is not sufficient for us. We want the Government to increase the wage to Rs 150,” says Chandravathi.

Endorsing her view, another beneficiary, Janet says that she can earn Rs 100 by rolling 1,000 beedies conveniently. “We are entitled to PF too. Leaving aside this convenient job, we have come to do public work under MGNREGS only for the sake of our village. Unfortunately, we are spending from our own pockets to purchase the spade, sickle, pick axe and other equipment. Zilla Panchayat should make arrangements to see to it that we get money from the GP for purchase of equipment at least,” says Janet.
Gayathri, a Dalit woman says that another request of the beneficiaries is to extend the scheme to agriculture as well.

“Awareness level of the people about the scheme is high here. Women specifically are willing to work under the scheme but very often many women get bogged down due to the wage,” says Gayathri adding that they want 300 days of work instead of 100 days.
During 2009-10, the Panchayat had 336 registrations of which 145 were male beneficiaries and 191 were female beneficiaries. Most of the beneficiaries working this year are those who had successfully completed 100 days work last year.
GP Secretary Pushpa Salian said that this is the only project being undertaken as of now under the scheme because they are not able to make the estimation for other projects as the action plan has not yet come.

However, with the women of the village uniting together to change the face of the village, Munnur is all set to scale greater heights.

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