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Wages of 15,000 tribal workers go unpaid

Government to be reported to UN for non payment

Tribals stage a protest demanding wages in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh Tribals stage a protest demanding wages in Barwani, Madhya Pradesh
  • ucanews.com reporter, Bhopal
  • India
  • October 8, 2012
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Nearly 15,000 tribal people have been denied wages for work they did under the federal government’s flagship program for rural employment. Activists on their behalf plan to bring the case before the UN.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is a scheme that ensures payment for 100 days of work per year for the rural jobless, but it is claimed that the Madhya Pradesh state government did not pay workers from April 2011 to March 2012.

“The non payment of wages to the workers nearly a year ago is a serious human rights violation and it will be reported to the United Nations Human Rights Council,” said Avinash Pandey of AHRC, the Asian Human Rights Commission, who visited the region last week.

He accused the state government of infringing upon tribal rights and depriving tribal people of a livelihood. He said he would also take up the issue of safety for tribal advocates with federal and state governments .

The AHRC report is expected to be submitted to the UN by October 15.

After a series of protests, the state government last month blamed the federal government for failing to release necessary funds, but federal rural development minister Jairam Ramesh says the state has a more than surplus of more than six billion rupees (US $19,186500) and could implement the act until January 2013.

Social activist Madhuri Ben pointed out that the 15,000 unpaid people were only in Barwani, one of 50 districts in Madhya Pradesh, and that the real number is likely to be higher.

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