GUJARAT, JUNE 15, 2010: Don Bosco Kapadvanj organized a protest gathering in front of the District Collector’s Office on 14th June, 2010. About 30 village leaders along with the staff of Don Bosco took part in this day long hunger strike to highlight the irregularities in payments to NREGS workers.
The preceding month had been spent preparing for this event. Ever since the NREGS work has started in the villages, people have had many complaints regarding the payments: often they are underpaid, the payments are regularly delayed, and in some cases no payments have been made for work done several months ago. Although the NREGA stipulates that payments should be made every fifteen days, there is not a single instance in the Kapadvanj Taluka where this has actually happened. Don Bosco, along with the village people, has been trying to resolve this problem for many months, but failed to receive the necessary cooperation from the taluka officials. Hence, it was decided to hold this protest. Data from several villages in the taluka was gathered regarding this problem, and a memorandum to the Collector was prepared.
At around 12.30 noon, Fr. Mayank Parmar and a group of village representatives met the Collector and placed their demands before him. The key demands were: payments should be done in 15 days; compensation should be given for the delayed payments; payment rates should be increased; taluka and village panchayat officials should involve the local people in the scheme so as to improve its implementation.
The Kheda District Collector promised to look into the matter immediately. He also said that he would forward these demands to the District Rural Development Authority (DRDA) and the State NREGS authorities. He was appreciative of the role being played by Don Bosco in securing the proper implementation of the NREGS in the Kapadvanj taluka.