ANGUL: The direction of the State Government to district authorities not to pay the cost of materials used by the beneficiaries of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for various works has landed the latter in a financial crisis.
The scheme, aimed at elevating economic condition of weaker section of society, has become self-defeating in Angul district where the beneficiaries have to wait for several months after completion of the job to get their payment.
It is also shocking that the Government officials, who persuaded the villagers to do the work, now tell that they cannot make the payment due to lack of fund. In one such case in Balipata panchayat under Chhendipada block, many villagers constructed cow-sheds under the MGNREGS with work orders from block authorities. Though they have completed the job six months back, the cost of materials used in the cow-sheds is yet to be paid to them.
After their repeated pleas were rejected by Chhendipada BDO, they took up the matter with the Collector on grievance day on Monday. The beneficiaries said they were told by block junior engineer that each of them would be paid Rs.35,000 towards construction of cow-shed from MGNREGS fund. As per the norms, Rs.5,000 would be paid towards labour charge and the remaining Rs.30,000 for the material cost.
The villagers claimed that the BDO office paid them only the labour charge and refused to pay for the expenditure incurred towards procuring the materials due to lack of fund.
Project Director of District Rural Development Agency Dhananjay Swain said the material cost has not been paid to the beneficiaries now as per the Government order.
However, the payment would be made as soon as the fund is sanctioned by the Government for the purpose, he added.