Friday, October 01, 2010

Their NREGA wages gone, over 2,000 Dahod farmers give boycott call

Even as the state government mulls over the compulsory voting bill, farmers in the tribal Dahod district have decided to boycott the local elections over non-payment of wages under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). There are about 2,223 such farmers in Fatehpura taluka of Dahod district bordering Rajasthan, who have decided to abstain from voting. Incidentally, police investigation continues in the case in which sarpanchs are alleged to have embezzled funds to the tune of Rs 5 crore due to the workers. Nathu Pargi (56), a farmer who took up work as a labourer under NREGS, in 2008, said: “I did not receive a single paisa as payment, so why should I vote for anyone? The people who have taken the money will contest these elections again.” Bharat Pargi, the Secretary of the NREGA union for Fatehpura taluka, whose Right to Information (RTI) application brought the scam to light, said 2223 NREGA workers from Fatehpura will boycott the October 21 panchayat elections.

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