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Prestone clarifies on assistance to poor after TUR’s allegation

Some workers received only Rs 700 instead of Rs 2100: Angela

Shillong, May 24: The state government has clarified to the allegation made by Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR) leader Angela and provided details about the distribution of benefits to the daily wage earners and construction workers.

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters  on Monday said that the government last year had decided to provide financial assistance to the poor people who lost livelihood especially the daily wage earners, labourers and petty traders .

In this regard, Tynsong said the government had received 2,33,194 applications. “That time, the criteria was that those who are muster roll or casual workers in various departments, those under PM Kisan and those covered under construction workers and job card holders will not be eligible for the benefits,”he said.

He said out of 2,33,194 applicants, 1,81,491 were found to be qualified and out of this, money was transferred to 1,45,161 beneficiaries.

“Money for the remaining 36,330 is being transferred. Why it is taking time is because the transactions are through SBI and HDFC which will in turn be availed by the concerned beneficiaries”, he said.

The government has spent over Rs 31 crore for providing financial assistance to the affected persons and over Rs 7 crore  will be transferred to the remaining  36,330 beneficiaries, he said.

In response to another allegation by TUR, the deputy chief minister said that last year, under the Meghalaya Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (MBOCWWB) upto March 2020, the government had transferred Rs 5,000 each to 25,784 active registered workers.

“Angela said the government is hiding something regarding the benefits to registered workers. Only active registered workers are entitled. The workers will have to renew the registration annually to avail the benefits. The registration fee is only Rs 5 per month and for one year it is Rs 60”, he said.

Tynsong asked TUR to desist from misleading the people of the state on the financial assistance given to the daily wage earners.

“We welcome constructive criticism. But you cannot ask me to resign as I am elected by the people of Pynursla. Stop alleging that there is corruption,” Tynsong said.

According to Tynsong, the TUR leader can contest the 2023 elections if she is interested.

Tynsong asserted, “The misleading statement made by Angela Rangad is totally unfounded and not at all acceptable. She has also alleged that ministers have taken away the money. This is an irresponsible statement made by a person of her stature. I urge people not to be carried away by such misleading information. People should know what the government has done and that there is no corruption”.

What TUR found out from RTI reply   

TUR leader Angela said that through the RTI that the NGO filed, they   received the list which includes the names of the daily wage workers for whom the government claims to have provided financial assistance of Rs 2100 for hawkers, domestic workers, daily-earners and Rs 5000 for labourers or construction workers who have previously registered with the labour department during the first lockdown imposed due to Covid in 2020.

“We have managed to speak over phone to some daily wage workers who have the right to receive the mentioned financial assistance from the government. However, it is unfortunate that many of them have stated that they have not at all received this kind of assistance. There are also those who have received only Rs 700 instead of the promised Rs 2100 and so on”, Angela said.

She has also released the names of the daily wage workers mentioned in the documents received through the RTI query.

Angela had also conveyed to the poor that if they find that their names are printed, but they never received any financial support or received only a partial sum from the promised amount, they have the right to demand from the government to release the money.

“If you are a daily wage worker who has applied for the assistance but your names are not in the list and you have not received any financial support, we will also find out the reason behind that,” she said.

According to Angela, as they are hit by the second wave of the virus,  the daily wage workers have to stand together and demand from the government to provide the financial support.

“This is our right as daily wage workers. It is our right to have food and water, household budget, health and medical access and education for our children. We have the right to live a life with full human dignity”, she said.

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