"The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of a media report that seven families across Maharashtra and Jharkhand lost their members, who killed themselves owing to delayed payments under the MGNREGA scheme. Reportedly, 27 lakh labourers in West Bengal, 18.20 lakh in Bihar, 13.40 lakh in Kerala, 11 lakh in Rajasthan and 8.7 lakh in Andhra Pradesh are still waiting for their wages under the MGNREGA," the NHRC said in a statement.
The Commission has issued notices to the Secretary, Union Ministry of Rural Development and Chief Secretaries of the Governments of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh calling reports in the matter within six weeks.
"Quoting specific instances from Maharashtra, the media reports says that a landless family of four in district Buldhana, Maharashtra worked in Sillod Tehsil of Aurangabad district under the MGNREGA for the years 2009, 2010 and 2011 but did not get their wages. They also worked for a month in their village but did not get anything. The family took loans totaling Rs.1.5 lakh and when unable to repay the loans, they hanged themselves to avoid further humiliation," the NHRC said.
"A Committee was set-up Additional CEO, Aurangabad, which reported that several workers were not paid their wages and the money had been deposited into fake accounts," read the statement.
"The report also carried some instances of suicides from Jharkhand due to non-payment of wages under the MGNREGA," it said.
--IBNS (Posted on 04-01-2014)