Accusing the State government of crippling the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (MGNREGP) by diverting the MGNREGP funds for some other work, over 500 labourers laid a siege to the Collectorate here on Tuesday and staged a demonstration for a while despite incessant drizzle.
The labourers, who were carrying the MNREGP cards, said the employment scheme, which was providing succour to the rural poor by providing employment even amidst drought-like situations prevailed in the past, was being smothered systematically by the Central and the State Governments.
After the BJP-led government came to power at the Centre in 2014, the funds allocated for MNREGP was reduced significantly and the State government, on its part, had diverted MNREGP funds to the tune of over Rs. 600 crore for other works after just making announcements in the Assembly.
Consequently, the labourers had been left unemployed for the past six months and the wages had not been disbursed for the past 18 months.
“In Kanniyakumari district, over 80,000 labourers registered under the MNREGP have been rendered jobless. Besides hiring them, the district administration should take action for giving employment under MNREGP for the left-out workers also,” said the protesters.
The agitators left the spot only after the District Rural Development Agency officials assured the protesters that their demands would be considered positively.
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