Rural job workers to get cash in Maoist-hit areas: Ramesh

Ranchi, Dec 3: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Saturday said that rural job scheme workers will be paid in cash in Jharkhand’s Maoist-hit areas.

‘In Manohar block of West Singhbhum, cash payment to labourers has begun and we hope cash payment will be made in the rest of the Maoist-hit areas in the state,’ said Ramesh here Saturday.

The decision was taken as payments to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) labourers were pending for eight to 10 months, said the minister, who was on a two-day visit to the state.

He visited the Maoist-hit Saranda jungle of Jharkhand Friday and kicked off development works in the area.

‘In many areas of Jharkhand, there is no bank or post office. In the absence of payment, labourers were not turning up in the Maoists-hit areas. We decided to make cash payment to MGNREGS labourers. The payments will be done in the presence of local elected representatives before video cameras to avoid any corruption,’ said Ramesh.

The minister admitted that in the past 50 years, successive governments had failed to fulfil the constitutional obligation of development in tribal-dominated areas.

‘Around three crore tribal people in Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and other states have been displaced over the years in the name of different projects. Some of the tribals have been displaced many times,’ he said.

‘The Jharkhand government is slow in taking key decisions. Jharkhand also lacks manpower and capabilities to implement the central government schemes run under the rural development ministry,’ he said.