Govt fails to clear Rs 1,000 cr MGNREGA liabilities: AJKPC

AJKPC President Anil Sharma addressing press conference in Jammu on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh
AJKPC President Anil Sharma addressing press conference in Jammu on Thursday. -Excelsior/Rakesh

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Nov 14: Taking cognizance of huge liabilities of MGNREGA workers and material component on Jammu and Kashmir Government, All Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)-a frontline body of elected Panchayat members, has put J&K Government on a legal notice.
Addressing the media persons here today, Anil Sharma, AJKPC president revealed that the liabilities under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) Scheme on J&K Government have been grown up to Rs 1,000 crore during the past four years.
“The non-payment of wages to poor labourers for years together is the worst example of human rights violations in J&K but the Government here seems to be least bothered to clear the liabilities which have also badly affected the Union Government’s flagship MGNREGA programme. This kind of indifferent attitude of the Government has forced us to take a legal route to bring authorities out of the deep slumber,” Sharma said.
He accused the officials of the Rural Development Department and senior officers of the Finance and General Administration Department of being responsible for this backlog of payment of poor daily rated workers.
The AJKPC leader said that developmental activities under MGNREGA scheme have come to a standstill across Jammu and Kashmir since the last Panchayat elections held in December 2018. “The MGNREGA workers in rural areas have lost their faith in the Scheme due to non-payment of timely wages. No new development works have been undertaken since 2018, clearly reflecting the present status of this flagship programme in J&K,” he said.
Sharing non-serious approach even of political functionaries of the Union Territory, the AJKPC leader said that several delegations Panchayat members had met higher ups in the Governor’s administration and apprised them of the problem faced by the daily rated young men and women from rural areas of the UT but instead of helping the Panchayat members, they not only snubbed the delegates but also somehow chided them, asking them not to raise this issue of pending dues under MGNREGA.
The AJKPC president said their organization ran from pillar to post to seek justice for the MGNREGA workers so that their legal dues are cleared within time limit as prescribed under the Act but it was unfortunate that neither political functionaries nor civil administration paid any heed to their demands of releasing pending dues of thousands of poor workers thus compelling to knock the doors of judiciary.
“The AJKPC has served a legal notice to the Chief Secretary of J&K UT, Secretary Rural Development, Additional Secretary RDD, Member Secretary (MGNREGA) J&K Government, Directors of Rural Development department Kashmir and Jammu, asking them to clear all the pending wages and dues under MGNREGA within 15 days from the date of notice i.e November 11, 2019 failing which they may approach court for legal recourse against the State Government.