When is Modi govt going to pay Karnataka’s MGNREGS workers their wages, asks Congress

PTI, Apr 29, 2024, 11:54 AM IST

Attacking the Modi government over key issues in Karnataka, the Congress on Monday questioned the “delay” in the vital Bagalkote-Kudachi Railway line project and also asked when it is going to pay the state’s MGNREGS workers their wages.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of his rally in Bagalkote in Karnataka.

“Why has the Modi Government failed to deliver the Bagalkote-Kudachi Railway line? Why is the Modi Government holding up the Upper Bhadra and Mahadayi projects? When will the PM pay Karnataka’s MGNREGA workers?” Ramesh said in a post on X.

Elaborating on what he said were “jumla details”, Ramesh said the Bagalkote-Kudachi line of the South-Western Railway has now been delayed by more than eight years.

As of today, only 33 per cent, or 46 km of the 142 km line has been completed, he said.

“Originally sanctioned in 2010-11 at an outlay of Rs 986 crore, the project has now seen its cost balloon to Rs 1,649 crore. Originally supposed to be completed in March 2016, the project is now slated for completion in 2027,” Ramesh claimed.

Despite the Karnataka government providing the land for the project free of cost, and contributing 50 per cent of the construction cost, the Modi government has “failed” to deliver on this project, he said.

“Why is this vital rail project facing an 11 year delay? Is it attributable to the Modi Sarkar’s incompetence or to its anti-Karnataka tendencies?” Ramesh said.

He further said that in the last year’s Union Budget, the Modi government had proudly announced a 5,300 crore grant for the Upper Bhadra Project but more than a year later, state Revenue Minister Krishna Byre Gowda has revealed that not a “single paisa” of this grant has been released.

“During his assembly election campaign, PM Modi had also claimed to resolve long-standing issues with the Mahadayi-Kalasa Banduri Nala Project. Yet, earlier this year, clearance for the project has been deferred by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change,” Ramesh said.

These projects are crucial to expanding drinking water and irrigation access in a state that has been reeling under a severe drought, he noted.

Why has the Modi Government neglected these essential infrastructure projects, Ramesh asked.

“What vendetta does the PM have against the people of Karnataka?” the Congress leader said.

He said that in order to help alleviate the drought-related stress on the rural economy, the Karnataka government has sought to increase the number of working-days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) from 100 to 150.

“There is a provision in the scheme to do so during periods of drought. However, the Modi Sarkar has not only failed to approve the extension of the scheme, it has also failed to release Rs. 1600 crore towards the payment of wages to those working under MGNREGS,” Ramesh said.

When is the Modi government going to pay Karnataka’s MGNREGS workers their wages, Ramesh asked.

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