Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Non-payment of MNREGA wages for May, 2012 to 150 villagers in Amravati district-Social Jurist writes to Bom HC CJ

To Shri Mohit S.Shah The Hon’ble Chief Justice The High Court of Bombay Mumbai Maharashtra: 400032 December 31, 2012 Subject: Non-payment of MNREGA wages for May, 2012 to 150
villagers in Amravati district Respected Sir We, Social Jurist, are a group of lawyers and social workers, based in Delhi, committed mainly to the cause of right to education and healthcare. Our delegation visited Amravati district of Maharashtra between 21.12.2012 and 28.12.2012 on an invitation by Apeksha Homoeo Society, an NGO based in Maharashtra, to assess the state of implementation of the RTE Act, 2009, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREG Act), 2005, The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and the state of health facilities, among others in the tribal belt of the Vidarbha region. During out visit to Lakatu village in Dharni Tehsil of Amravati district, the villagers made a written complaint to us regarding non-payment of their dues under the MNREG Act, 2005. The said written complaint is enclosed herewith for your reference. It is submitted that the complaint pertains to work executed by as many as 150 villagers under the MNREG Act from the period of 12.05.2012 to 18.05.2012. Thus more than 7 months have passed ever since but the poor tribals are yet to receive any payment for the same. It is worth mentioning that these farmers usually work on daily wages from hand to mouth and are not in a position to wait for such a long duration. Due to the impugned non-payment, 7 days of their toil have gone unrewarded, which amounts to begar, a violation of their fundamental right guaranteed under Article 23 of the Constitution of India. It is useful to point out here that that the poor tribals had undertaken the work under the assurance that they would be paid their dues within 15 days of making the claim, but under the present circumstances, they feel cheated and have lost faith in the scheme as a whole. Thus, the inaction on the part of the government of Maharashtra is not just violative of the fundamental and statutory rights of the villagers but also a highly insensitive omission which has worsened the plight of the poor tribals who are on the brink of starvation. You are requested to kindly treat the present letter a PIL and direct the state government to forthwith disburse the MNREGA claims of all the villagers of the said village and to take necessary stern action to ensure that the government does not sleep over the similar claims of the poor people in the future. With regards Yours sincerely Ashok Agarwal, Advocate Advisor, Social Jurist M: - 09811101923

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