The liability created by the State Rural Development Department (RDD) towards payment of the wages of the labour class and the material used in various development works during last 4 years has reached up to Rs 448 crores just in 10 districts of Jammu division while its performance has reduced to merely 50 percent in many blocks during this financial year. Apart from current financial year, this liability on account of material supplied by various agencies and private parties and payments of wages to the labour class are pending for the last 3-4 years under various works initiated across the region under MGNREGA in the rural Blocks and Panchayats. The liability component is little less in Kashmir as compared to Jammu region, even then, it may go beyond a whopping amount of Rs 700 crores. According to the guidelines from the Union Ministry of Rural Development, the labourers engaged on works under MGNREGA in various Panchayats/ Blocks must get their wages maximum by 14 days, but the State Government agency, in sheer violation of standing Govt directive and Labour Laws, has failed to make payments to the labour class even after three-four years. Hardly a few days ago, the members of the labour class supported by Sarpanchs and Panchs, held protests at Chhatroo, Mughal Maidan and Kahra in district Kishtwar, Mankote in Poonch and also locked BDO office staff who was later rescued by the Tehsil Administration and Police. They were demanding release of their pending wages.
Some money has recently been released by the Administrative Department to various Blocks with a rider not to make old payments. The concerned DDOs have been directed to clear liability of only current financial year. With this, there was strong resentment among the members of the labour class and other agencies/ firms which have supplied material for various works, but they have been denied their payment for the last several years. Not only this, on account of mandays generated, the performance of MGNREGA has also nose- dived during this financial year as many districts have performed below 50 percent although their performance was above 90% last year. Many blocks of Udhampur, Samba, Jammu and Kathua districts are the worst examples. Data compiled from various districts of the region has indicated that though focus of the RDD officers was to clear wage liability on priority but even then this component was whopping. The Government of India said to have been sending huge amount in Rural Development sector every year and such claims were also made in the past by the concerned Ministers on the floor of the Legislative Assembly that huge money remains unspent and officers fail to utilize the full amount, then piling up of such huge liability is something surprising.

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