SAMBALPUR: Daily wager couple Babita and husband Trilochan Chhuria had toiled hard during peak summer under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for renovation of village tank. All their labour seems to have gone in vain as they are yet to be paid wages even after three months, thanks to the delay on the part of the Centre in allocating funds for disbursal of wages.
The Chhurias of Majhipali village under Kankhinda gram panchayat in Dhankauda block of the district are among the 43,500 persons who had worked under MGNREGS in nine blocks of the district but are yet to be paid wages.
They had all worked under different projects under MGNREGS between second half of June and August. Their wages amount to about `7.57 crore. The last payment was made on June 26 and since then no payment has been made to the labourers.
As per available data, at least 3,700 labourers had worked under MGNREGS in Bamra block during the period and payment of wages amounting to `65.58 lakh is pending.
Similarly, in Dhankauda block, payment of wages amounting to `20.83 lakh is pending against 1,200 labourers. In Jamankira block, payment of wages to the tune of about `1.25 crore is pending against 7,200 persons.
Besides, 5,700 labourers had worked in Jujumura block and payment of wages amounting `99.85 lakh is pending against them. Moreover, 2,500 persons had worked in Kuchinda block of the district and disbursement of wages amounting to `44.35 lakh is pending. In Rairakhol block, payment of wages of `2.01 crore is pending against 11,700 labourers while it is `49.11 lakh against 2,800 persons in Maneswar block and `61.89 lakh against 3,600 labourers in Rengali block. For 5,100 persons in Naktideul block, `88.3 lakh wage is pending.
The labourers were engaged in various works under MGNREGS, including development of playground, renovation of water bodies, plantation, rural housing and construction of Anganwadi centres. The delay in receiving fund from the Ministry of Rural Development has not only forced the authorities to stop projects halfway but also hit the poor, who needed money instantly. Coordinator of MGNREGS, Sambalpur, Sobhit Kumar Bishi admitted that it has been more than two months since they had last received funds from the Ministry of Rural Development. As per provision, each labourer should get his dues after seven days of work, he said. Meanwhile, resentment is brewing among the labourers over delay in disbursement of wages.