Sikkat, Bihar | Reena
MGNREGA workers from the village get paid by the contractor after their job is completed. These workers aren’t aware that they have bank accounts opened in the post office on their individual names. The post-master and the contractor have gotten together to swindle money out of innocent workers. The workers aren’t even aware of this. Community Correspondent Reena explores the issue faced by the villagers of Sikkat Panchayat, Bihar.
– Have you ever worked in MGNREGA?
– We have had work but were not aware that it was for MGNREGA. We just took up whatever work was given to us by the contractor. We were paid in cash.
– How did you find out later about this [account]?
– We had received information from the Information Officer who finally gave us the breakup of the payment complete with the amount and beneficiaries. We had procured this information on our own but haven’t received any information on our personal bank accounts yet.
– Had you taken your photograph for your job card or for opening a bank account?
– They had taken my picture saying that it was for making the job card. They said that I could start work and would be provided a labour card as it gets made. Nobody told us that we had to make bank accounts where the money would get deposited as payments. At times, there were only a few people that had work to do and after the job was done the contractor paid them.
– What change do you wish to see?
– If we get our passbooks we would know exactly how much we were paid and all the other details. We would like to get our passbooks. If someone has picked up our pay on our behalf, we would need his details too. No one should be able to cheat us and walk away.
– Did you meet anyone regarding your accounts?
– When we asked the contractor about our account he mentioned that the money in the account was his own. He told us no one Else’s money was in the account. He said that he could not give us an account.
Community Correspondent Reena hopes to see these villagers receive their accounts and their money as soon as possible.
Reena appeals all viewers to help her cause by asking the Program Officer – on +91-9431648458 – to investigate into the matter and help the workers recover their payments.
Reena reports from Bihar for IndiaUnheard.
This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalized communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.