Manikpur-NREGA Workers Denied Wages in Remote Villages

NREGA Workers
Villagers of Sakrauhan village who did not get NREGA wage / Photo Credit—MukeshTiwari

Sukhrani is a koladivasi woman in Sakrauhan village of Manikpur block in Chitrakut district (Uttar Pradesh). She toiled at a NREGA ( rural employment guarantee scheme)work site for 21 days. This was about six months back. However she has still not received her wages despite having made several pleas for this.

ChotwaKol is an adivasi farmer of this village. He had worked for about 25 days at NREGA work site. He too has not received his wages despite having made several efforts to get the same,

Bitola is a tribal community woman from Sakrauhan village. She has still not received pending NREGA wages for 25 days even although several months have passed.

Surajkali of this village has not received her wages for 43 days while SarojKol has not received her wages for 58 days despite trying for this for several months.They are both from Sakrauhan village of Manikpur block.

Sakrauhan is a very remote village and several families here are very poor. If they suffer the injustice of being denied NREGA wages for many days, this can mean hunger in their families.

When this writer learnt about this serious problem in this remote village on February 23, he inquired about the situation in some other villages of this block ( Manikpur block) and he was surprised to learn that in several other villages also there are cases of wages not being paid. The victims in most cases are some of the poorest persons in these villages, including women.

What is no less surprising and unfortunate is that this situation has remained like this despite several efforts having been made already to get these wages. A disturbing question is—will not such non-payment destroy the faith of the weaker sections in MG-NREGA? In fact, this is precisely what a victim told me—Myfaith in NREGA is gone after suffering this non-payment.

This village is located in Bundelkhand region which had been much in news during COVID times due to a very large number of migrant workers having to walk several hundred kms  all the way to their villages from cities like Delhi. At that time it was stated that NREGA will become a source of reliable support for them, but how can this hope be sustained if hard-earned wages of workers are not paid for months?

To keep alive this hope, the administration should immediately ensure that all the pending NREGA payments in Sakrauhan and other villages of Manikpur block are cleared immediately.

Bharat Dogra is Honorary Convener, Campaign to Save Earth Now. His recent books include Protecting Earth for Children, Planet in Peril and Man over Machine—GandhianPath of Peace.

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