Paul Malto is an adivasi school teacher from the remote hilly region of Sahibganj in Jharkhand. In a region that does not even receive a cell phone signal, Paul is a rare literate individual. He says that it puts him in a position of responsibility. He is representative and mouthpiece of his community’s voice, something that he hopes to amplify…
Another case of corruption in the government’s Rural Employment Guarantee program.
A corrupt contractor hoards the job cards of an entire tribal settlement in rural Jharkhand. Without the job card the community cannot get access to the livelihood entitled to them under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act).
In the 7 years since the Act was passed, the system has been beset with corruption and apathy. The benefits are embezzled by the authorities and the middlemen. Communities which are meant to gain continue to slide into abject poverty and starvation.
The Act promises 100 days of guaranteed employment at minimum wage. If employment is not delivered, people are entitled to a daily unemployment allowance. The Act was passed with the laudatory motive of providing necessary social welfare, economic empowerment and all round development especially to remote areas just like the Banko hills featured in today’s video.
IndiaUnheard Correspondent Paul Malto is one of the lucky few in his community who is educated and holds a steady job as a teacher. He says that without work and money, the people are living in hellish conditions. There is not enough for families to put even food on the table. The people live in fear.
“It was difficult to get the video made. For the longest time I could not find someone to speak to the camera,” says Paul. “The issue is not just faced by the Banko Settlement but in over 17 villages nearby.”
“I went to each village and requested the headman and the people to speak to me. But they were so afraid of a possible backlash by the corrupt contractor that they preferred to stay mum. Finally, after a lot of convincing, the people in Banko agreed to speak out.”
“We are a remote community. There is not even a cell phone signal in this region. We live in a zone of dead silence. Over the years, the authorities have realized that they can get away with anything because there is no way that the community can reach out and complain.”
Call to Action: “I appeal to the viewers of my video to call Block Officer Vinod Kumar on +919801313401.
Tell him that you have seen and heard about the corruption in MGNREGA system which is leading an entire community who lives in Banko Hills village to starvation.
Ask him to look into the matter immediately and redress the issue.
Ask him that the people who have registered for the MGNREGA receive their job cards immediately.
Lack of smartphones is one of the major factors why primary students in India are not able to take regular online classes and are forgetting the habit of going to school, take classes and make education a part of their lives.