The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Friday issued notices to the ministry of rural development and chief secretaries of seven states over reports of non-payment of wages under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The NHRC took suo moto cognisance of a media report that seven families across Maharashtra and Jharkhand killed themselves due to delayed payments under the scheme.
Seeking a reply in six weeks, the NHRC issued notices to the secretary in the rural development ministry and the chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
“Seven 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,” an NHRC statement said.
Quoting specific instances from Maharashtra, it said that a landless family of four in Buldhana who worked in Sillod in Aurangabad under the MGNREGA did not get their wages for 2009, 2010 and 2011.
They also worked for a month in their village but were not paid.
The family took loans totalling Rs.1.5 lakh. When they could not repay, they hanged themselves to avoid further humiliation, the statement said.
According to the statement, a committee reported that several workers were not paid their wages and the money had been deposited in fake accounts.