The new District Magistrate of Gonda, a town 130 kilometres away from Lucknow, is off to a great start at his new job. In less than two months, he has facilitated the creation of 47,000 rural jobs!
Ashutosh Niranjan, the District Magistrate, was determined to start off with a cause which, he felt, had great scope for improvement in his district: the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNNREGA).
Preparations began in April, with Niranjan organising open house discussions in over 1,000 gram panchayats between the 14th and the 24th. Orders were then given to prepare muster rolls. With careful planning and preparation, Niranjan and his team were able to start construction projects in 1,054 gram panchayats in a single day, leading to the creation of 47,000 jobs!
Niranjan was able to accomplish this near-impossible feat by utilising the allotted Rs. 38 crore set aside for the scheme. The fund had been left unused and was on the verge of lapsing when the young bureaucrat decided to embark on his project.
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The projects started on May 1st, Labour Day. Plans have also been made to create 15 lakh man days for the next ten days.
As reported by The Times of India, the two-week-long campaign is expected to cost around Rs. 21 crore, with construction costs on the first day alone coming up to Rs. 92.64 lakh.
Forty-seven thousand workers will be put to work on more than 1,300 projects, including construction of semi-permanent roads, levelling of grounds, building of compost pits as well as digging of ponds and drains.
Work is already believed to be underway on many projects including the construction of a 56 km long road, 25 km of drain construction, repair of nine wells, upgrade of 10 hand pumps and construction of toilets at five schools.
The District Magistrate is also tracking the progress of the projects using technology. He has formed Whatsapp Groups and created social media pages to share regular updates on the work being done.
“There is no dearth of funds for development and I hope this drive will now be unstoppable” he says.