MGNREGA job card holders blocking vehicles on Imphal-Ukhrul highway

Agitating elected functionaries of panchayati raj institutions (PRIs) in Manipur on January 28 said that they will continue to press for fund release.

Elected PRI functionaries across the six valley districts of Manipur including Jiribam district are agitating against the non-release of funds for MGNREGA and other schemes being implemented through the PRIs.

After they boycotted the Republic Day celebration, elected PRI functionaries –Zilla Parishad members, pradhans and ward members – were imposing a 38-hour bandh in the panchayat covered areas of the six districts. The bandh commenced from 6 am on January 27 and ended at 6 pm oN January 28.

Owing to the bandh, normal life in the rural areas was severely hit as the functionaries backed by MGNREGA job card holders continued to block roads, preventing plying of all kinds of vehicles except in essential services.

On the second day of the bandh, a large number of bandh supporters came out on roads and blocked the traffic at various places across the valley districts.

Along the Imphal-Ukhrul road, PRI functionaries along with a large number of bandh supporters imposed the bandh, disrupting normal vehicular movement on the highway.

Talking to reporters at the protest site, a PRI functionary said that following the agitation, the state government has released Rs 87 crore against Rs 330 crore sanctioned by the Centre in August last year.

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“What we are demanding is the release of all the funds sanctioned by the Centre. The state government has no reason to delay in releasing the funds,” she said.

The elected PRI functionaries will continue agitation with intense forms if no positive response comes from the government even after the 38-hour bandh, she maintained.

She claimed that the state government is keeping on hold Rs 113.87 crore meant for payment of wages of the MGNREGA sanctioned by the Centre.

This fund should be released immediately, she demanded.

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