BELAGAVI: Workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) at Kadoli village near Belagavi were paid a meagre Rs 100 as wages as against Rs 289 per day, fixed by the government. While panchayat officials maintain that wages were paid as per the work done, the villagers claim they were paid less.
On Thursday, they even stages a protest in front of the gram panchayat office. At Kadoli Gram Panchayat, there are over 2,000 active workers registered for MGNREGS scheme and taking up various works such as lake development, desilting of canals, rivers and lakes, cleaning and creating new trenches, building water tanks in the forest regions, etc. When there were no jobs for some time in Kadoli and surrounding areas, these workers had to trek 20 km for jobs. Under the scheme, workers must be paid Rs 275 as daily wages. Every family having a job-card is given 100 days of work. However, some panchayat officials are cutting the wages citing various reasons.
According to the workers, many of them were paid a paltry Rs 100 per day despite working in forest and hilly regions round the clock. When they came to know that they were paid lesser wages, they gathered in large numbers and staged a sit-in protest in front of the Gram Panchayat office. The panchayat officials and the engineer who supervised the work tried to defend the decision to pay lesser wages claiming that the workers had not completed the quantum of work. However, the workers alleged that the engineer and panchayat officials did not visit the work site when the works were in progress.
“We never left any work mid-way and ensured that the entire work assigned to us was completed. But the officials have cut our wages for no reason this time. After realising his mistake, the engineer has now assured us of full wages. Panchayat officials say they will review the works done before clearing our wages,’’ the workers said. Despite several attempts, the Taluk Panchayat Executive Officer and Zilla Panchayat CEO Darshan H V were not available for comments on the wage issue.