New Delhi: Members in Lok Sabha Monday took the government to task for trying to "dismantle" the national rural employment guarantee scheme and not doing enough to address the problems of farmers in drought and flood hit parts of the country.
CPI(M) member P K Biju accused the government of trying to "dismantle" the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) by limiting it to some select blocks in a few states and slashing allocation for it.
Even funds for paying the wages under the scheme to poor farmers in various states, amounting to almost Rs 5,000 crore, was not being disbursed, he claimed.
Asking the government to implement the scheme "in totality without limiting it to a few select blocks in a few states", the CPI(M) member demanded that the government should desist from any move to "dismantle or curtail" the scheme and take urgent steps to disburse the amounts due to make expeditious payment of wages to the rural poor.
Several Congress and BJP members spoke on the plight of farmers in Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, affected by droughts, floods or non-payment of dues.
Ravneet Singh (Cong) said there were major delays in farmers of Punjab getting paid for their produce for the central pool, saying funds worth Rs 3,100 crore was pending for several months. "This is the result of internal feud between BJP and Akali Dal" in the state, he claimed.
Maintaining that farmers of Karnataka were faced with severe drought in 12 districts and floods in some other districts, R Dhruvanarayana (Cong) said while the total estimated loss of crops in the state was Rs 3,589 crore, "only Rs 149 crore has been made available".
The state government has sought Rs 799 crore and Rs 266 crore respectively to meet the situation arising out of drought and floods, he said, seeking the release of central funds on priority basis.