(Article contributed by Comrade Mathivanan of CPI-ML)
Communist parties CPI, CPI M and CPI ML joined hands in mobilizing MGNREGS workers against denial of jobs and destruction of MGNREGA. On December 20th more than thousand workers from villages around Madurai marched to the Madurai collector office and demanded answers from the district administration.
The Modi Government is making use of all its wits in destroying MGNREGA and the scheme under it. Workers seeking jobs are being denied jobs, and the statutory minimum wage is seldom being paid. In recent times, this trend has been gaining momentum.
In Tamil Nadu, workers are facing the following problems with the MGNREGS:
- Jobs are being provided only to 20 -40 people in a village on a rotation basis.
- Minimum wages are seldom paid.
- At least one month of wage is pending even though the law is to pay wages within a week
- Village people are asked to fill in forms which are not available to them.
- Maintenance of PWD lakes, which was one of the largest source of MGNREGA jobs is no longer under the ambit of the Act.
- Sanitation workers are being replaced by MGNREGS workers hence 10 to 20 are finding jobs for survival.
Communist parties CPI-CPI M- CPI ML joined hands to protest the issue. On 12th December Com. C. Ramkrishnan (Secretary of CPI M Madurai- Rural), Com. Kalidoss (Secretary of CPI Madurai-Rural) and Com. Mathivanan of CPI ML met the collector and demanded implementation MGNREGA. They demanded that jobs be provided to anyone demanding them, and minimum wages be paid as per law. The Collector’s reaction was not satisfactory.
The parties decided to mobilize people who were seeking to get MGNREGA jobs, and march to the collector office on 20th December. The police refused to give permission for the march. Protesters violated it and marched forward. The district administration was taken aback by more than thousand protesters who gathered in a short time. The gates of the office were closed and a tug-of-war between the police and the people ensued. Later, the police allowed the protesters into the campus.
The leaders of the three communist parties met the collector. The collector agreed that providing the jobs as per demand is the legal obligation of the state. He assured that more jobs will be provided in the district and the records will be produced for the communist parties to scrutinize.
Later, leaders of the three parties spoke to the protesting workers about the assurance and called for greater actions of the people in the future.