Poor labourers pushed to wall, MPs silence disturbing: Anil Sharma
Jammu, November 26 | After putting UT administration on legal notice for a fortnight, All Jammu Kashmir Panchayat Conference (AJKPC)—the frontline body of elected Panchayat members- on Tuesday announced to go on hunger strike from December 3 against the failure of government to clear Rs 1,000 crore liabilities under the Centre’s flagship MGNREGA scheme.
“We had served an ultimatum of 15 days to the UT government for clearing the mounting liabilities of Rs 1,000 crore under the MGNREGA scheme. The poor labourers, including skilled and unskilled, have not been paid their meagre wages for years together while the people, who helped the department to execute development works under the scheme, have been running from pillar to post to their pending dues,” regretted Anil Sharma, AJKPC president while addressing a press conference here.
The AJKPC leader said it was highly unfortunate that the government has turned insensitive to the miseries of poor labourers and did not pay any heed to our request as well. “We, the elected Panchayat members, are left with no option but to adopt the path of agitation. We have decided to go on hunger strike from December 3 (Tuesday) and it will continue till December 10 (Tuesday) to bring administration out of its slumber. I will lead the hunger strike to be observed 24×7 for 168 hours till December 10,” Sharma said.
The leader also took a strong exception to blatant lies of Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj department Sheetal Nanda during a recently-held press meet in Jammu where she had claimed that there was only material liability under MGNREGA.
“The Officer (Secretary) should visit the official site of Ministry of Rural Department, Government of India where the liabilities of skilled and unskilled labourers from J&K are clearly mentioned. The UT administration has been misguiding the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Lieutenant Governor of J&K Girish Chandra Murmu by giving wrong feedback to them,” the AJKPC leader said.
Sharma expressed his dismay that the successive governments of erstwhile J&K state and now UT administration had been violating the MGNREGA guidelines with regard to payment of wages to workers with impunity.
“The MGNREGA guidelines suggest that workers should be paid their wages within 15 days of the work done but the situation is quite grim in J&K where the workers who executed works from 2015 to March 2019 have not been paid their wages till date. This is the worst example of human rights violation,” the AJKPC leader said, adding “The vendors who supplied material for development works and mates who managed these works are also on roads because their families to are at the verge of starvation”.
He also regretted that none of the elected parliamentarians from J&K and Ladakh has bothered to speak on this sensitive issue relating to poor labourers till date.
“The prevailing scenario also belies the government’s claims on implementation of the 73rd Amendment of Indian Constitution in J&K after the abrogation of Article 370. If the 73rd Amendment has been implemented in letter and spirit, a separate finance commission and election commission for Panchayats should have been put in place by now. The government should not test the patience of poor labourers and Panchayat members,” Sharma said.
The AJKPC leader made a fervent appeal to the elected Panchayat members to join them for the decisive battle against the administration and join them for hunger strike from December 3.
Prominent among those who attended the press conference included Executive Member AJKPC Des Raj Bhagat, Narender Singh, Mulk Raj Sharma, S. Avtar Singh, Uttam Chand, Pathan Singh, S. Harjeet Singh, Ashok Singh and Raj Kumar.