Thousands to march to Parliament to demand implementation of MGNREGA in Punjab
What: The NREGA workers’ union of Punjab has given a call for a rally and march to Parliament to demand effective implementation of MGNREGA in the state of Punjab.
Why: Poor implementation of the much feted scheme that is a lifeline for some of the poorest communities leaves them in a lurch without food or livelihood and pushes them into debt trap often getting sucked into bonded labour. The instances of these violations of the people’s right to work under the scheme include, Panchayat heads and Panchayat secretaries denying receipt of application for work, withholding the job cards, banks and post offices turning down requests for opening of account to a job card holder and lack of even basic facilities mandated under the act, like crèches.
A recent notification of Government of India on 14th February 2011 has further aggrieved the MGNREGA workers, wherein, the wage fixed for MGNREGA workers in the state of Punjab is Rs. 124, while it is Rs. 179 for the neighbouring state of Haryana, Rs. 174 for Chandigarh and in the scheduled areas of Himachal Pradesh it is Rs. 150.
Thousands of workers shall stand witness for wrongfully charging them Rs. 30 – Rs. 50 each for photograph for job cards.
When & Where: On 30th March, 2011 in New Delhi
Route: The Rally will start from Red Fort and Bangla Sahib Gurdwara Bus Stand at 7.30 am and will gather at Jantar-Mantar.
Note to Editors
About VSJ: Volunteers for Social Justice (VSJ) has been fighting against the age-old practice of bonded labour and caste discrimination in Punjab since 1985.
ActionAid has been supporting VSJ in one of its projects named 'Breaking Bondage and Securing Rights' which started in 2002 which has played a significant role in releasing dalits from bonded labour facilitating them to live with dignity.
The introduction of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) has emerged as an important alternative source of livelihood for many landless dalit families who have been trapped in debt and bonded labour. VSJ turned much of its efforts on effective implementation of MGNREGA to allow such families an alternative source of income. VSJ organized MGNREGA workers in 7 district of Punjab by registering them in a formal union for effective implementation of the Act and the required amendment through advocacy. This union not only solves the scheme related grievances but also provides a common platform to people to fight against corruption and injustice. More than 5000 workers are members of this union, one third of them are women.