Agitating elected panchayat functionaries gherao offices demanding fund release

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IMPHAL, April 18 (NNN): Agitating elected members of panchayati raj institutions in Manipur on Saturday gheraoed Imphal East DC complex, paralysing all the government offices in the complex.

The elected members disallowed entering of employees of all the offices located inside the DC complex while staging a sit-in-protest by blocking the main entrance gate of the complex.

The elected members including zila parishad members and pradhans from across the six districts in the valley were protesting against non-release of MGNREGS funds, second installment of 15th State Finance Commission Award, their monthly honorariums since Friday.

The elected members commenced the agitation on Friday by staging a sit-in-protest at the same place and they intensified their protest on Saturday by banning entry of employees of various state and district levels offices including the directorate of RD and PR.

‘Release MGNREGS funds’, ‘Devolve powers to PRIs’, ‘Release honorarium from October 2019 to March 2021’, ‘Release 15th Finance Commission Award funds’, etc. read some of the placards displayed at the protest site by the protestors.

Elected members of PRIs from Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal, Bishnupur, Kakching and Jiribam districts took part in the protest.

Talking to reporters at the protest site, the agitating elected members alleged that even as MGNREGS works for the current financial year 2021-22 had already started, the authorities of the state government are yet to release the funds meant for payment of wages of the job card holders.

They said that with the clearance from the higher authorities, works for 40 days had already imparted to job card holders. But, the necessary funds for payment of wages of the job card holders are yet to be cleared.

They claimed that the Centre had already released Rs 485.80 crore on March 19 last. However, the state government has not released the funds.

In such conditions, they are caught in the midst as job card holders who have no knowledge of non-release of the funds are pressing them to clear their wages.

Besides, the state government is yet to release the second instalment of the funds awarded to the PRIs under the 15th state finance commission, the protestors also said.

If their demands are not fulfilled at the earliest, they will boycott the National Panchayati Raj Day to be celebrated nationwide on April 24, the protestors threatened.

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