Raipur: Despite the lockdown, the rural economy of Chhattisgarh remains strong due to extensive works started under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGA) across the state, a government official has said.
Labourers have been taking all precautions against coronavirus by wearing face masks or covering their faces with scarves, maintaining physical distance and regularly washing their hands while working on the field, he said.
Chhattisgarh has so far recorded 59 COVID-19 cases.
These cases have been reported from seven out of the total 28 districts of the state.
“In April alone, 10.24 lakh MGNREGA job-card holder families were provided employment of 1.23 crore man-days.
Wages worth Rs 548.41 crore have been paid to labourers in April for the ongoing and previous works,” a state public relations official said.
As per statistics released by the Union Rural Development Ministry on April 29, Chhattisgarh is leading in the country in terms of providing employment to villagers under MGNREGA during the lockdown, he said.
State Panchayat and Rural Development Minister T S Singh Deo had instructed to start works extensively under MGNREGA in a bid to save the rural economy and protect livelihood of rural people while complying with precautionary protocols to check the spread of COVID-19, he said.
Due to the activeness of field staff and village sarpanchs (village heads), the number of workers employed under MGNREGA increased from 57,536 on April 1 to 19,85,166 on April 30, the official said, adding that the process of payment of wages was being done immediately.
“MGNREGA is not only providing wages to villagers, but also making them free of employment concerns during this period of crisis,” he added.
Some migrant labourers who recently returned to their native villages in the state from different parts of the country tested positive for COVID-19.
Therefore, all workers under MGNREGA have been advised to strictly follow the safety protocols to protect themselves from contracting the infection, the official said.
Besides, officials are regularly inspecting the workplaces to ensure protocols are strictly followed, he said.
Chhattisgarh has so far reported 59 COVID-19 cases. No death due to the disease has been reported in the state.
Till now, 36 patients have been discharged after recovery, according to official figures.