- Madhya Pradesh government cuts down NREGA projects
- Several villagers in Chhatarpur set to be out of work
- Chhattarpur in drought-affected Bundelkhand region
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.
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 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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