A Salesian priest in Gujarat has taken up the cause of hundreds of poor workers who have not got wages of the work allotted to them under a job guarantee scheme.
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), which came into force in August 2005, provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household at a minimum wage of rupees 100 per day (some US$ 2).
As per the act, the workers should be paid within a span of 15 days under any circumstances.
Father Mayank Parmar of NGO Drishti Shramik Sangathan (workers vision forum), operated by the Don Bosco Trust, along with the workers June 14 held a day-long sit-in outside the office of a government official S Murali Krishnan in Kheda district.
They demanded timely payment of wages and punishment for the government officials responsible for the delay. They also submitted a memorandum to Krishnan in this regard.
“When we came to know that hundreds of workers have not received wages, we held a day-long sit-in outside the collector’s office,” Father Parmar told ucanews.com on June 16.
The NGO, which has been working among the NREGA workers for the last one year, reveals that 400 workers from 11 villages of Kapadvanj block in the state have not received their wages for as along as three months.
“Due to lack of awareness, they become victims of official indifference and apathy,” Father Parmar said.
He said most of the workers are illiterate and hail from dalit and other backward communities.
The priest said his organization held four days of training for NREGA workers in March this year to make them aware of various provisions under the scheme.
Meanwhile, Krishnan said he has ordered the local authorities to ensure that all the workers be paid wages on time.