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Rediff.com  » Business » Purulia, Jalpaiguri provided maximum jobs under NREGA

Purulia, Jalpaiguri provided maximum jobs under NREGA

April 30, 2010 11:38 IST

Rural women at workPurulia and Jalpaiguri districts, one hit by Maoist insurgency and the other affected by separatist demands for Gorkhaland respectively, have provided maximum days of employment under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in West Bengal.

The districts have provided 64 days of jobs under the 100-day job scheme as against the state average of 45 days.

"Apart from Purulia and Jalpaiguri, good number of jobs were provided in Birbhum (56), Burdwan (55), North 24-Parganas (54), South Dinajpur (53) and West Midnapore (52) districts," joint secretary in state panchayat and rural development department Liakat Ali told PTI.

Officials said Rs 2110.40 crore (Rs 21.1 billion) was spent on jobs under NREGA this year which was Rs 940.39 crore (Rs 9.4 billion) last year.

Jalpaiguri district spent the maximum amount at Rs 201.5 crore (Rs 2.01 billion) and Howrah district spent the lowest of Rs 14 crore (Rs 140 million).

Villagers living in Howrah which is predominantly urban, got the least number of 15 days jobs under NREGA, he said adding that the number of people getting jobs in Hooghly (30), South 24-Parganas (29) and Murshidabad (29) is low.

A total of 34.75 lakh (3.47 million) households got jobs in the schemes in West Bengal where maximum 3,60,000 households got jobs in Murshidabad district and the lowest 55,921 households got job in Howrah district.

Besides the Gorkhaland agitation, Jalpaiguri is also hit by frequent bandh called by Kamtapuris and Adivasis.

"But the agitators did not hamper NREGA work much and villagers in remote Kalchini block bordering Bhutan too got jobs," district magistrate Vandana Yadav said.

Purulia district also provided an average of 64 days of jobs to the villagers belonging to predominantly backward classes and tribals.

About Rs 138.4 crore (Rs 1.38 billion) has been spent behind wages and durable asset creation in Purulia.

Projects which provided more wages and less material cost were selected, district magistrate Avanindra Singh said.

Maoist presence has affected eight out of 20 blocks in Purulia where the average days of work provided was 55 days this year up from last year's 24 days, he said.

NREGA programmes here were meant to create assets like tanks, ponds, irrigation wells, check dams, roads, social forestry, farmland creation and wage employment to the villagers in Purulia, sources said.

Officials said 60 per cent of the job card holders came forward to work in villages.

Officials said technical supervision and faster payment of wages were needed to sustain NREGA works and curb corruption in the state.

Officials called for a policy change in the existing practise of paying for every 15 days for NREGA work to help villagers who still depend on local moneylenders for immediate need of money.

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