Lucknow, May 4: On Sunday, as International Labour Day was celebrated the world over, in the small town of Gonda, 130 km from here, a record of sorts was set, hitherto not much publicized: the creation of a staggering 47,000 rural jobs in a single day!
This, in a state which has attracted negative publicity in the past over its track record on creating rural jobs under MNREGA, the rural jobs scheme.
Not only this, 15 lakh (1.5 million) man days were created for the next ten days, leading to the spending of over Rs.38 crore that was lying unused and on verge of lapsing. As a result of careful and out-of-the-box planning, construction work was simultaneously started in 1,054 gram panchayats on a single day - May Day.
Officials told IANS that soon after taking over the reins, the new district magistrate had taken the initiative to dust off old files and pick one where "all was not lost". Between April 14-24, open house discussions were held in the 1,054 gram panchayats, muster rolls were released and orders were issued to start construction work in one go, on one single day.
District Magistrate Ashutosh Niranjan told IANS that on the first day - May 1,
Rs.92.64 lakh was spent on construction work and during the whole campaign, spanning two weeks, Rs.21 crore would be spent and work initiated on 1,357 projects.
The works undertaken, under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNNREGA) include digging of ponds and drains, leveling of grounds, making of semi-permanent roads and compost pits and digging for plantations, among others.
Similarly, through state finances, work has been undertaken to create 400,000 man days at a cost of Rs 17.37 crores.
The young bureaucrat who spearheaded the drive said that under this the work that has already begun includes a 56-km road, 16-km of interlocking, 25-km of drain construction, upgrade of 10 hand pumps, repairs of nine wells, construction of toilets at five schools, 445 soak pits and 41-km of boundary walls for various panchyat buildings.
Niranjan further informed that since the marriage season was over and the harvest season was behind them, this was the best period to create temporary jobs as also create permanent jobs.
"There is no dearth of funds for development and I hope this drive will now be unstoppable" he contended.
For due monitoring, nodal officials have been appointed for every 10 panchayats and Whatsapp groups have been created along with social networking pages to post pictures of actual work being done.
Did someone say: Where there is a will, there is a way!