Updated on 20 May 2021, 4:17 am
Manipur Panchayati Raj employees protest against non-release of MGNREGS funds (File Photo: IFP)
The Manipur High Court has directed the additional advocate general to ascertain if necessary work has been done in terms of the March 18 sanction order of MGNREGS funds by the state government and if there are any inaction.
The high court division bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kumar and Justice Kh Nobin issued the directive on Tuesday in connection with a PIL filed against the alleged failure of the state government to sanction the MGNREGS fund to the Panchayati Raj Institutions and job card workers in the state.
The PIL filed by Imphal East Zilla Parishad member Seram Neken mentioned that the Union Rural Development Ministry sanctioned an amount of Rs 4,85,50,75,000 to the state government on March 18 for payment of liabilities in the form of wages, material and administrative components for MGNREGS works.
As per the sanction order and the MGNREGA guidelines, the state government must transfer these funds along with the state share to the State Employment Guarantee Fund for programme implementation within three days positively from the date of receipt of these funds.
The guidelines stated that in case of non-transfer beyond the given period, the Central government may be constrained to stop further releases. Besides, the state government would be liable to pay interests at 12 per cent for the period of delay beyond the specified period, it stated.
The PIL also stated that the Panchayati Raj Institutions of Manipur resorted to agitations demanding the release of funds, even in the form of a two-day general strike. Further mentioning that the poor job card holders are in extreme need for their wages which have been pending payment for long, and observing that the material costs for executed works have long been due for payment to the elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions, it stated, “Unfortunately the department concerned has not done the needful to release the funds.”
The PIL prayed before the court to issue a writ for an appropriate direction to the authorities concerned to strictly comply with the direction given by the Ministry. It prayed for issuing directions for disbursing the required funds to all the districts so as to enable saving of the 12 per cent interest charges on the delay beyond the specified period of three days from the date of sanction of money by the central government. It prayed to pass any orders which the court may deem fit and proper to secure the ends of justice.
The court also asked for submission of all the returnables by June 7 which is fixed as the next date of hearing. The respondents of the PIL are the Ministry of Rural Development, the chief secretary, the commissioner and the director of RD and PR.