Rs 1 crore due to NREGS workers in UP

Published: Wednesday 15 July 2009

Governor expedites payments in Jharkhand

villagers in six districts of Uttar Pradesh staged a protest in the first week of June. Their protest was against non-payment of wages for works under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (nregs). Under the Act, workers should be paid within two weeks of a work's completion. In some cases payments were seven months overdue and the amount over Rs 18 lakh, said Richa Singh of Sangtin Kisan Mazdur Sangathan, an organization leading the agitation in Sitapur district.

Agitations were organized in Varanasi, Unnao, Hardoi, Chandoli and Jaunpur districts. The total amount due in the six districts is more than Rs 1 crore. The delay in payments, claimed non-profits, is because of problems in the measure of work done.Arundhati Dhuru of Asha Parivar, which led the demonstration in Hardoi, said the work is collectively measured and payments are averaged among labourers.

Nine villages of Khunti district in Jharkhand are also awaiting payments, found a team led by development economist Jean Dreze. On June 5, the governor ordered the assistant labour commissioner to hold court in Khunti to hear late wage payment related cases. The next day, the commissioner's court directed payment of Rs 2,000 as compensation. Besides, Rs 36 lakh was disbursed as wages. Officials also imposed a penalty of Rs 1,000 each on the three block programme officers and seven others for holding back payments.

Dreze suggested block officials should be held accountable for delays. A compensation of Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 should be paid to workers for late payments under the Payment of Wages Act 1936 and officials should be fined.

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