Rural employment scheme changes rural Tripura

Tripura, AgartalaPanisagar (Tripura), Dec. 12 : The implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in North Tripura District this year has come as a boon for residents.

The NREGA is paving the way for a major change in the lives of residents here.

The district’s Panisagar block is today one such example, which bespeaks how proper implementation of funds can bring change in a very short span of time with proper planning taking in account the grass root people.

Lila Sutradhar, Head of the Sripur Village Panchayat, said: "NREGA, which guarantees 100 days of manual labour to each rural household near their place of residence, is perhaps the first major rural development programme. It seeks to deliver its benefits with in-built safeguards against leakages."

“Under the scheme of NREGA, the poor villagers here have benefited a lot, as they got work and income. We are also happy because we got good quality roads due to which our village can get well connected by transport and communication. Our next scheme is creating water bodies that shall not only give us water but also income in the form of fisheries,” Lila informed.

“Here, a good number of women are also getting work and we are getting payment through banks and in some villages through post office. If we get little rice along with the money, this project could be more beneficial for us,” Lila further added.

Though passed in 2005, the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was launched in the North Tripura district of Tripura this year in July.

In a very short span of time Panisagar Block of the district has created a national record by utilizing more than 60 per cent of the fund allocated to it, which is the highest in the country.

Kiran Kirti, Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Dharmanagar, said: “Panisagar Block is highest in terms of aggregate utilization of fund allocated under NREGA. While another Block Dhamcherra, under the same Dharmanagar sub-division, has utilized 75 per cent of the funds allocated to it."

Under the scheme, the funds are being used for construction of roads and connectivity, fields, dams and tanks for water conservation that are permanent assets. Moreover, the funds are helping in employment generation, mainly for the tribal and women folk of the hilly remote areas.

"An important achievement of the Block for corruption-free and transparent financial activities is that in all the 33 Panchayats (councils) of the block, comprising 27 Gram Panchayats and six Autonomous District Council (ADC) villages, out of the total 19,000 job card holders 18,000 are getting their payments from either bank or post office,” said Rajesh Kumar Das, Block Development Officer (BDO), Panisagar.

Das said: "Of the total rupees 4 crores allocated to my block under NREGA for this financial year, we have used them under different projects of worth Rs. 3 crores."

This has in fact helped in developing confidence among workers, as they are sure of their payment and hence motivated to do the work.

Today, due to a proper planning with the cooperation of local people and their representatives, the funds are proving a help in generating employment for people including the tribal and women folk of the hilly remote areas.

Besides it is also facilitating construction of roads, dams and tanks for water conservation which are permanent assets.

Sajal Das, a NREGA beneficiary said, "Earlier, most of us were farmers while others use to collect firewood and bamboos from the forest and sold them in the town. But the income was not adequate to maintain our families properly. Now due to NREGA there is work round the year and we are happy because along with work we can also find lot of developmental activities going on in our villages." (ANI)