Andhra Pradesh: Workers at their wits’ end as MGNREGS payments get delayed


Many of the 1,232 worker families in Prakasam decide not to resume work unless dues are cleared

Many of the 1,232 worker families in Prakasam decide not to resume work unless dues are cleared

The drought-prone district of Prakasam tops the State in creation of work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for over 5.31 lakh people in the first three months of the fiscal itself by earmarking ₹252.99 crore for wages and ₹10.33 crore for material component.

Over 6.25 lakh families in the district have enrolled under the MGNREGS and more than 3.02 lakh families were shown work in the months of April, May and June 2022, according to District Water Management Agency(DWAMA) Project Director K. Seena Reddy. As many as 1,232 worker families have competed 100 days of work.

But this has not brought cheers to the workers, who have been toiling unmindful of the scorching summer heat, as payments have not been made yet for the work done.

Pouring out their woes, a group of workers from Alluru village, near Kothapatnam says that they decided to seek wage employment from the government when there was no work for them in fields in the absence of rains during summer. “How can we make a living if payments are delayed like this?” asks a worker, M. Jaya Rao, from the village.

Each worker has to receive payments in the range of ₹5,000 to ₹10,000 for the work already done by them, according to official sources.

Now with the delay in payments, many of them have decided not to go for work before the dues are cleared, explains another worker, A. Brahmaiah from Pardepi village, near Kondepi.

Supreme Court’s direction

Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers Union District General Secretary K. Anjaneyulu wants the State government to exert pressure on the Union government to release funds immediately under MGNREGA as the Centre owed funds to 15 States. Though the Supreme Court had directed the government to ensure payment of wages under the MGNREGA within 15 days as per the law, this is followed more in breach than in practice.

Payments to the tune of ₹388 crore to 3.18 lakh wage seekers families in the State, including 30,000 families in Prakasam district are due, according to official sources. Usually over 2 lakh workers used to seek employment in the district in July. But the number is likely to drop to less than 25,000.

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