Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic crisis, hundreds of MGNREGA workers under the banner of 'Shramika Sangathan' staged a rally at Keshaibahal in Sambalpur district on Wednesday over the alleged delay in the payment of their wages.

According to reports, several labourers have worked under the scheme in the Panchayat for many months. However, they are yet to get their payment.

According to the workers, they have requested the Block administration for clearing their dues several times. However, their request has fallen in deaf years so far.

"We have not received any payment under MGNREGA since last one and half months. We are daily wage labourers. Now it has become very difficult for us to make our ends meet. Even the grocery shop owners are refusing us credit anymore," said Sushant Bhoi, a protestor from Bamra.

"Covid-19 has taken a severe toll on our livelihood. Now, the government's apathy has made things worse," Bhoi added.

The protestors have warned the administration of intensifying their protests and hit the streets if they are not paid for their work at the earliest.

"We have informed about our plight to the higher authorities several times. But they are not paying any attention to our grievance and dillydallying in giving us our payment," said Padmacharan Guru, leader of the protestors from Patnagarh.

"We will be forced to intensify our strike by hitting the streets if our payment was not provided soon," he said.

Meanwhile, MGNREGA workers from Bolangir and Patnagarh have also alleged delay in the payment of their wages.

"We are yet to receive our payment under MGNREGA scheme even after working for over two months," said a labourer from Bolangir.