SAMBALPUR: Delay in payment of wages has forced workers to stay away from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).
As per reports, only 3,917 labourers have evinced interest and been provided with work in nine blocks of the district against 1, 09,923 active workers in the district. After the end of kharif season, rural daily wagers generally work under MGNREGS and presence of a large number of workers is recorded between January and April.
However, there has been a change in the trend and daily wagers are not keen to work under MGNREGS due to delay in getting their dues.
Currently, only 783 workers have been engaged in various works under MGNREGS against a strength of 19,539 active workers in Bamra block of the district.
The labourers have been engaged in various works under MGNREGS, including the development of a playground, dug well, renovation of a canal, plantation, rural housing and construction of Anganwadi centres.
The outstanding payment to the tune of Rs 8.09 crore for four months between August and November last year was paid to the labourers after Ministry of Rural Development allocated funds on November 21. Prior to this, payment was made to the labourers on June 26. As per the provision of MGNREGS, each labourer should get his dues after seven days of work.
Co-ordinator of MGNREGS, Sambalpur, Sobhit Kumar Bishi said they are facing problems in persuading the labourers for work as they are unable to pay their dues within a stipulated period. The Ministry of Rural Development has allocated Rs 157 crore to Odisha recently but the amount is not enough and with arrear wages reported from many more districts, at least an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore should have been made, he added.