Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Tribal body calls off economic blockade in Mnp



Even as the economic blockade pressing the state government to release pending funds for MGNREGS has been called off, opposition Manipur Congress on Friday casted doubt on diversion of the funds released by the Centre to the state.
All Manipur Tribal Development and Grievances Forum (AMTDGF) today called off the indefinite economic blockade it imposed on NH-2 and NH-37 to demand release of pending funds for MGNREGS.
The blockade was lifted following the state government’s assurance that it would release another Rs 150 crore funds and the remaining balance in a phase wise basis within January 2023 without any delay, the forum said, in a release.
Informing on the the lifting of the blockade which commenced on Thursday, the forum appealed to the government to release all arrested executives and blockade supporters detained by the police “without any condition”. It also urged the withdrawal of the arrest warrant issued against AMTDGF executives.
The police, in its crackdown on the blockaders, picked up six members and supporters of the economic blockade on Thursday.
Sources said that the finance secretary and information secretary of the forum were among six picked up by the police in Kangpokpi and Senapati districts.
In the meantime, opposition Congress today casted doubt on whether the MGNREGS funds sanctioned by the Central government has been diverted by the state government in paying salaries of its employees.
The BJP-led government should produce a whitepaper on the reason behind the delay in the release of the funds which the Centre had already released in June this year, MPCC spokesperson Md Rabi Khan demanded.
Addressing a news conference at Imphal Congress Bhavan today, the MPCC spokesperson revealed that the Centre had sanctioned Rs 756 crore MGNREGS funds to the state on June 23 last.
The funds were meant for the implementation of the MGNREGS, including wages of the job card holders for the year 2021.
It has been five months since the amount was sanctioned but the BJP-led government in the state did not release a large portion of the sanctioned funds till date.
The recent economic blockade on the national highways was imposed to register strong resentment over non-release of funds.
This is not the first time people have agitated against delay in releasing funds. Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) had also agitated against non-release of the wages of the job card holders before the recently concluded general elections to the state Assembly.
He said that the Act (MGNREGA) was enacted by the then Congress government in 2005 for the well-being of the poor and working class section of the society.
However, the incumbent BJP government in the state could not implement the scheme effectively.
Has the “double engine” government at the Centre has not provided enough funds to run the government in the state which compelled the BJP-led government to divert the funds from the Central sponsored scheme? he asked.
Not paying wages for a long time amounts to violation of rights of the job card holders, the spokesperson asserted.

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