IMPHAL, Feb 26: The Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) has informed that the deputy ombudsman, MGNREGS, Imphal East District has issued an award dated 14th February 2011 thereby directing inter alia to pay unemployment allowance to 13 complainants, who are bonafide job card holders of MGNREGS under the Uchekon Nongchup Gram Panchayat, Imphal East District.
A statement issued by the director HRLN, stated that according to the complainants, the said job card holders have submitted their application for work to the Panchayat in the year 2010 so as to get employment under the MGNREGS. However, they were not provided employment as demanded by them within 15 days from the date of submitting their applications for work to the authority. Consequently, the above mentioned Job Card Holders further submitted their applications to the Panchayat Secretary for providing unemployment allowance as no work has been provided within the stipulated period of time. According to the relevant provisions of law, the above named complaints are required to provide unemployment allowance by the authority concerned for their failure to provide employment within stipulated period of time.
Having no other alternatives for redressing their grievances, the above named complainants have preferred 13 separate complaints before the Ombudsman, MGNREGS, Imphal East. After considering the matter at length and also considering the response/reply furnished by the authority of MGNERGS, Imphal East District, the Deputy Ombudsman, MGNERGS, Imphal East has issued an Award dated 14th February 2010 thereby directing the Programme Officer, MGNREGA/ Block Development Officer, Imphal East-ll CD Block to consider to pay the unemployment allowance to the complainants within fifteen days from the issue of the award with a condition that no application shall be rejected solely on the ground of non-availability of fund in view of sub-section (3) of section 8 of MGNREGA.
Further, Wahengbam Joykumar, the deputy ombudsman has made it clear that the rate of the payment of unemployment allowance mentioned above should be one-fourth of the wage rate for the first thirty days and one-half of the wage rates for the remaining period of this financial year. But it should be paid from the sixteenth day of the receipts of the applications for work till the expiry dates mentioned in the said applications or the date of joining of work in this financial year or 31st March 2011 which ever is earlier. However, the total amounts of unemployment allowance should not be more than the wages of one hundred days of a year which will be calculated with the sum of wages earned already and amounts of unemployment allowance to be paid.
Further it also directed the Programme Officer concerned to pay a sum of Rs.800/ (rupees eight hundred) each to all the complainants as nominal cost from the office expenditure under the provision of 13.2.6 of the Instruction on Ombudsman issued by the Government of India.
At the same time the deputy ombudsman has recommended to the authority concerned to take appropriate disciplinary action against the programme officer, MGNREGA/ block development officer, Imphal East – II CD Block namely Tn. Priyochandra Singh for violating the provisions of MGNREGA. Further it has also recommended the Authority concerned of the Government of Manipur to fulfill the provisions of sub-section (5) and (6) of the section 7 of MGNREGA as expeditiously as possible.