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State for hike in MNREGA fund to provide more jobs in LWE zones


 Keeping in view the growing demand for daily jobs in the tribal dominated Left Wing Extremist (LWE) zones, the State Government has urged the Centre to release more funds for MNREGA to provide at least 200 days job opportunities to the people in these areas.

Odisha Government has recently approached the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) in this regard.

Officials said that MoRD is examining the proposal as Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is favoring such a development initiative.

Even as under MNREGA, Union Government is providing funds for job opportunities for 100 Days, people in the Maoist Zones are asking for more job opportunities.

Taking this into account, the State Government has asked for allotment of more funds to provide job opportunities for 150-200 Days in the LWE affected districts of the State.

While 19 districts in Odisha are affected by Ultras, Ministry of Home Affairs has identified Malkangiri and Koraput as “Most LWE affected districts” among country’s 35 such districts where Red Rebels are most active.

As the Union government is laying stress on taking up both security operations and development initiatives in these districts, as a boost for the peoples’ need, more funds allocation has been urged under MNREGA, said sources in State government.

Several other State governments are also asking for more funds for MNREGA and inclusion of watershed component in MNREGA to facilitate water conservation.

Government of Chhattisgarh has also raised the issue recently with the MoRD and urged for more funds under MNREGA.

Sources in MoRD admit that such a proposal is under examination and soon appropriate decision will be taken.

Earlier, Odisha had also raised the issue and Chhattisgarh is following the former in this regard, said sources.

Even as MHA has favored such proposal long before, funds sought for Road Requirement Plan (RRP) - II are yet to be sanctioned.

Odisha is to receive over Rs.600 Crore under RRP-II and major roads in Malkangiri and Koraput districts are to be covered.  This will weaken the strong hold of Maoist as connectivity acts as a major bottleneck for the ultras.

Maoists are blocking road development projects in Red corridors and both State Police and Central Armed Police Forces are helping out the road constructing organizations to complete connectivity on a priority basis.

While RRP-I is moving on fast track in Odisha, timely release of funds in RRP-II will be much beneficial for the people living in Maoist zones, pointed out a senior official.

EDITOR : Bijoy Ketan Mishra
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