By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 21, 2017: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik has shot of a letter urging the union rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar to immediately release Rs 676.57 crore for payment of wages to workers under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme till December, 2017.

“In all, Rs 2290.19 crores was supposed to be released by Government of India to the State Government by the end of December, 2017. However, Government of India have released only Rs 1613.62 crores (including pending liability) till date and thus there is shortfall of Rs 676.57 crores,” the letter said.

“In the meanwhile, FTOs of Rs 130.53 crores are pending with Ne-FMS to be credited to the accounts of MGNREGA workers. The State Government has declared 5958 villages under 1097 Gram Panchayats of 70 Blocks in 15 Districts as drought affected. Yet labourers are not evincing interest in availing MGNREGS work due to non-receipt of wages on time, which may cause distress migration. On its part, the State Government has ensured that all FTOs are generated on time without any delay,” he wrote.

Towards the end of the letter, Patnaik sought Tomar’s intervention for release of Rs 676.57 crore. “Or allow us to disburse wage to MGNREGA workers through e-FMS mode out of the corpus fund of State Government, subject to reconciliation of the amount on receipt of allocation from the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India,” Naveen concluded.

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