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Development deficit plagues naxal areas

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2011 00:12 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times
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Monija Khatun has not got her salary as ad-hoc teacher for 17 months, youth in Soliya village in Jharkhand have got no work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) for the last five months and half of the newly constructed wells have collapsed in another village.

These are just a few stories from a Naxal affected district of Jharkhand, where people feel alienated from the development process, even though the Central government has provided funds to bridge the "development deficit" in the Naxal affected districts.

A Rs 3,300 crore Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 60 Naxal affected district to conduct works not covered under other Central government schemes was approved in 2010. This week, Minister of state for Planning Ashwini Kumar, who is from Congress, conducted first field visit of NDA ruled Jharkhand - having 14 Naxal affected districts ---- where the money is being spent.

"I leave my work at home to teach children in school. I get Rs 1,500 per month. They haven't paid me salary for 17 months and nobody is listening," Khatun complained to Kumar in a village in Naxal affected Ramgarh district, even as the state government officials could be seen threatening other dissenting voices.

World's biggest social security scheme MGNREGA emerged as a core area of disenchantment for local tribals with job-cards issued to only 40 % of the villagers in the state, where fund utilization under the scheme is just 20 %.

The reason could be found from the one's who had the job cards. "We have not been provided work in the last four to five months," said a villager of Soliya, as officials asked him to leave. The area block development officer quickly explained that nobody asked for work. Kumar retorted: "You have to create work for the cardholders once they are enrolled".

Ten kms away, Kumar was amazed to find that villagers showcased before him had been issued job-cards only a few days ago. "It is an example of ineffective implementation of the schemes," he said, while promising to visit more Naxal-affected districts.

Jitender, who goes by his first name, had another aspect to share. He spent money from his own pocket to complete construction of the well started under MGNREGA, a government scheme to create durable assets on land of poor people to improve agriculture production.

Construction of wells is a huge development activity in the poverty struck areas that receive 90 % of its rainfall during monsoon. Several wells constructed this year have collapsed as they could not be completed before rains. "To save my well, I completed myself," Jitender said. State government officials admitted that many wells have not been completed and blamed early arrival of monsoon for it.

Only 12 children out of over 100 children in Ladha village of Ranchi district were attending an anganwadi centre, set up by the Central government to provide free nutrition to children below six years of age. Situation was similar in Soliya and Khurbi villages of Ramgarh district.

"There is bureaucratic deficiency in implementation of the Central government schemes…we have to work together with the state government to improve efficiency and that will be an issue in the 12th plan," Kumar said, while winding up his visit.