The labourers from the far-flung hilly areas of Kalakote block, 65 kilometres from Rajouri, are relieved after getting employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The residents of Barmanadal panchayat in Rajouri had been jobless since the COVID-19 lockdown.
“A lot of these labourers working in cities were left unemployed during the COVID-19-induced lockdown. So, the Rural Development Department decided to provide them with an alternate source of income near their home,” Khalil Choudhary, Kalakote Block Development Officer, told ANI.
“We’re also working to provide these labourers with pucca homes under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana by 2022,” he added.
“Poor people are thanking the government for providing them with employment under MGNREGA. They’re hopeful of earning livelihood through this scheme in future as well,” Abdul Majeed, Barmanadal Sarpanch, told ANI.
“We’re very thankful to the government for providing us jobs under the MGNREGA scheme. We can’t look out for jobs from such remote areas,” Krishan Lal, a local labourer, said.
At the job sites, the COVID-19 protocols are being followed thoroughly, which include maintaining social distance, wearing masks and constantly using sanitisers.
“We’re proving them employment in their locality itself. Migration during the pandemic is very risky. The labourers are being paid on time; masks and sanitisers are also being distributed,” Altaf Ahmed, Gram Rojgar Sevak said.