Amid the continuing COVID-19 lockdown, Odisha’s Nabarangpur district has generated employment for 1,01,060 persons on Friday. The mandays are expected to rise in the coming days, said Nabarangpur District Collector Ajit Mishra.

On Saturday, the number of persons employed through the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in Nabarangpur was expected to increase by another 5,000, he added.

From May 1 to June 10, 16,69,139 mandays have been generated in Nabarangpur district, reaching out to jobless villagers. The Odisha Panchayatiraj department had advised all district administrations to generate employment through the MGNREGA to help the poor and returned migrant labourers.

Also read: News Analysis | Odisha faces uphill task in doubling jobs under MGNREGS

On April 23, the number of persons employed in Nabarangpur district under the MGNREGA was only 7,805. On that day, 5T secretary V.K. Pandian visited Nabarangpur to review measures to counter the COVID-19 threat and enhancement of livelihood sources. “During the review meeting, he stressed on enhancing the livelihood projects, including the MGNREGA, to meet the rising needs of returning migrant workers. Then we took efforts to increase employment generation through the MGNREGA in all 10 blocks of the district,” said the Collector.

NGOs’ involvement

Meticulous planning was done by the administration with the active involvement of local NGOs. Ten nodal officers were posted in 10 blocks of the district to monitor the MGNREGA works. In each block, one NGO with grassroot-level presence was chosen to work hand in hand with the administration.

As an immediate measure, digging of 5,682 fish farming ponds was decided to be the main thrust of employment through the MGNREGA in the district. At present, the work on 1,000 ponds is continuing.

Also read: MGNREGA changes lives of nomadic families

“Enhancement of demand among the needy people for the MGNREGA work was possible through the involvement of NGOs, timely payment of wages, transparency through daily documentation by photographs from work sites and involvement of civil society members,” said Achyut Das, social activist, whose organisation Agragamee is being used for proper implementation of MGNREGA projects in the Tentulikhunti block of Nabarangpur. He lauded the Nabarangpur administration for ensuring timely payment of wages.

During the past 15 days, Mr. Mishra visited over 57 work sites to monior the MGNREGA projects.

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