Madhya Pradesh Order Keeps People Battered By Drought Out Of Work

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Madhya Pradesh Order Keeps People Battered By Drought Out Of Work

The NREGA scheme guarntees 100 days of work to every rural household.


Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh: 

Highlights

  1. Madhya Pradesh government cuts down NREGA projects
  2. Several villagers in Chhatarpur set to be out of work
  3. Chhattarpur in drought-affected Bundelkhand region
In a village in Madhya Pradesh's Bundelkhand region, among the worst-affected from this year's drought, 50-year-old Kallu Lal Tiwary was hopeful of finding work under the Centre's employment guarantee scheme for the first time in eight years.

But a new government order has meant that that at least 20 villagers like Mr Tiwary will not earn a living at a time when they need it the most.

"We are facing drought and facing a lot of difficulties as we have no work. I got to know about the work at pond which has now been cancelled. How do I feed my family?" said Mr Tiwary.
 

Kallu Lal Tiwary says he was counting on NREGA to earn a living.

The order from the state's Additional Chief Secretary Radheshyam Julania of the Water Resources Department has announced that the government will not bear the cost of de-silting and deepening of ponds any more in the village.

The government says the soil extracted is fertile and beneficial to farmers so they can dig the ponds themselves and use the soil.

And it's not just the pond in the village. The order is expected to stop work in as many as 390 sites in the district and has triggered panic among workers who count on the Centre's crucial National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or NREGA as a social safety net.

The order comes after the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre last month over delay in disbursing payments for NREGA.
 

The government says it will no longer pay to deepen and de-silt ponds.

District Collector Masood Akhtar says he is not aware of the order to cancel the work but at least villages like Mr Tiwary's, the order found its way to the Panchayat level.

"The work at the pond has stopped as we have got orders that new NREGA work projects have to be cancelled. The villagers are affected as they would have otherwise got employment," the Sarpanch of Ataniya, Bhaiyalal Bansal, told NDTV.

But Chhatarpur Collector Masood Akhtar said, "We have not stopped work anywhere. I have to check if there is any such order."

As the Madhya Pradesh government scales back NREGA projects, for people like Kallu Lal Tiwary, a drought without work is only going to get more difficult.


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