Dharwad district tops State in utilising MGNREGS grants

The district tops Karnataka in utilisation of funds released by the Union government under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Several development projects have been implemented across the district, utilising all the money released for the financial year 2012-13, under the Scheme. Udupi is at the bottom of the list by making use of only 15.5 per cent of the funds - the least utilisation.

“The Centre releases grants according to the demands of the district. Dharwad Zilla Panchayat was the first one to prepare the action plan and  submit it to the implementing officers. Early release of grants ensured complete use of the money,” said Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer, A P Meghannavar.

Last year, Rs 63 crore was allotted under the MGNREGS for the district. This time, a proposal for Rs 80.90 crore has been submitted, he said.

The Zilla Panchayat and Gummagola Gram Panchayat of the Navalagund taluk in the district have been bagging several awards from the Department of Panchayat Raj and Rural Development for successful implementation of the job scheme. This also played an important role in Union and State governments according priority to the district. Thus, Dharwad was among the seven districts selected for the pilot project of ‘e-FMS,’ an initiative for online payment of MGNREGS wages.

“Payments were delayed during the initial stages on account of the non co-operation from banks. However, the situation has improved now and wages are being deposited in the bank accounts online within 15 days as per rules,” Meghannavar said.

However, there have also been complaints of “improper” implementation of the scheme in some parts of the district. Social activist Sharada Dabade alleged that many with job cards had been denied job in Mukkal village of Kalghatagi taluk.

“Earthmovers are being used to desilt tanks while the rules stipulate that manual labour should be deployed for the purpose,”Dabade said.

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