(Report) Dalits of Bundelkhand: Living with hunger and dying of NREGA mafia - by Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS)
Dalits of Bundelkhand
Living with Hunger and Dying of NREGA Mafa
Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food security (CEFS) has carried out a rapid survey on the performance of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in 50 poorest dalit villages of Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh ( UP) .Over 90 per cent of the sample households in this survey are extremely poor dalits. This rapid survey was conducted during November-December 2009 in the districts of Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Jhansi and Lalitpur . We came across large numbers of very poor dalit households who have not received even a single day of NREGS work in last four years or received it only for a few days . We found massive corruption and very serious irregularities in the implementation of the rural job scheme.
Very few villagers have seen muster rolls . Live muster rolls are never available at the worksites . There is little transparency and accountability in the implementation of the rural job scheme in Bundelkhand . The Grievance Redressal Mechanism is as good as non-existent . Payment of unemployment allowance is unheard of .
In none of the surveyed villages there has been any Gram Sabha meeting or Social Audit of NREGS work . At least , none of the villagers in these surveyed villages has ever attended any Gram Sabha meeting or participated in any social audit of the NREGS projects. We were told by the villagers that NREGS related Gram Sabhas and Social Audits are conducted only in the official records and not on the ground . In most of the villages of Bundelkhand we found that large numbers of poor workers have migrated to cities and towns in search of wage employment .We found that in the implementation of the MGNREGS in Bundelkhand there has been guarantee of only corruption, unemployment, poverty , hunger and humiliation . Irregularities are the only regular feature of the NREGS in Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh .