Following the analogy of bigger states for speedy execution of development works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA), the Kangra district administration is contemplating convergence between government departments and local panchayats.
Initially, the public works department (PWD) will be carrying out repair and maintenance of village roads in Dharamsala and Nagrota divisions of Kangra district.
Under the new initiative, the panchayats will be providing labour for the purpose, while PWD will provide technical assistance, machinery and material.
Elaborating the idea, Kangra deputy commissioner C Palrasu said under MNREGA, government departments could also carry out development works under the job scheme.
"We are contemplating the convergence of panchayats and government departments for execution of development works like repair and maintenance of the roads," said Palrasu, adding that the project would start on pilot basis which will later be expanded in the entire district.
He added that the public works department would identify the village roads connecting more than three villages. The repair or maintenance work of these roads will be carried out collaboratively by the department and panchayats.
The block development officer will identify the job cardholders in those villages and panchayat functionaries will be directed to provide labour during the work.
"It will not only create more jobs which will benefit the locals, but will also improve the road infrastructure in that particular area," Palrasu said, adding that later other development works could also be executed in the same way.
"However, there could be a problem in maintaining 60/40 ratio while executing the work, but to overcome this hurdle the departments could also sanction its budget for that particular project," said Palrasu.
The deputy commissioner said some bigger states such as Andhra Pradesh had been already implementing MNREGA through convergence successfully and the same model could be followed here.
"Keeping in view the shortage of labour in Himachal, the project will be implemented only in those areas where enough workforce is available," Palrasu said, adding that the villages have a large number of people registered under the job scheme and the project could be successful. He said the district administration would coordinate between the department and panchayats. The new project will also help in better utilisation of central funds.
Maintaining that MNREGA is being run successfully in Kangra district, Palrasu said of 760 villages only two villages have not made demand for work under the scheme in the current financial year.
He said the district administration had issued notices to gram rozgar sewaks that their salary would be paid only after there would be demand of work under MNREGA from their area concerned.
"This ultimately helped in better implementation of the scheme as Gram sewaks started working seriously," said Palrasu. Giving details, he said, "`90 crore was released under MNREGA for Kangra district in the last financial year and 100% funds spent on development works. This year, our target is to spend around `130 crore under the scheme."