UP: Exodus in villages of Bundelkhand region as people denied MGNREGA payment
Failing to get work and MGNREGA payment for over a year, exodus has started from villages in Banda in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of villagers have gone to bigger cities
Failing to get work and MGNREGA payment for over a year, exodus has started from the villages in Banda in the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh where hundreds of villagers have gone to bigger cities to eke out their living.
“Villages after villages are empty in the literal sense as people have locked their houses and gone away to other cities. Eerie silence engulfs these villages with padlocks hanging at the doors as the testimony of the exodus,” Raja Bhaiya, convener of an NGO called Vidya Dham Samiti said.
One of the main reasons for the exodus is that the villagers have not received the payment of the work they have done under MGNREGA. “The payment was pending for over a year. The Pradhan has not made the payment on one pretext or the other. Left with no potion we were forced to leave the village,” Sunil Kumar, a resident of village Sukhari Purwa in Attara block of Banda district said.
Sunil has migrated to Allahabad with his family where he works as a menial labourer. Some other villagers have gone to Haryana, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh and are working in the brick kilns.
Raja Bhaiya says that exodus is very prominent in villages like Sukhari Purwa, Jarwa chowki, Nibi, Naugawan, Kachhiyan purwa, and Biliharka where over 50,000 people have left their villages because of the lack of employment opportunities.
The village Sukhari Purwa is home to 85 families of which over 55 have left, claims Sunil Kumar, and said others might leave soon.
“The villagers had worked under MGNREGA in February 2021. We dug ponds and also constructed drain in the village. We had met Pradhan and Panchayat mitra a number of times but they avoided payment on one pretext or the other. Of late, the Pradhan stopped giving us work under MGNREA saying we torment him to release payment,” Sunil said.
Incidentally, the Yogi Adityanath government has claimed that under MGNREGA, the government created over 116 crore man-days and provided employment to about 1.50 crore workers. As many as 52,634 community toilets have also been constructed to curb open defecation and construction work in the villages have been carried out under this scheme, as per the state government's claims.
Raja Bhaiya says that whatever the government claim be, the fact is that people are not getting any work at the village. And moreover, those who have worked under the MGNREGA are yet to get the payment.