Doda: It was tipped to be the ticket to employment. But the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREG) still remains just a promise.
Weaving baskets for a living – this is how Gori Lal and his wife earn their livelihood.
They live in Sanai village in Doda, a district that falls under Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's constituency.
In February 2006, when the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was announced, many thought it would bring about a change in the village, where 50-scheduled caste families live. But so far, the guarantee cards have failed to ensure jobs for anyone.
Gori Lal says, “Humne kahan tha 5 kms main mazdoori milege. 4 mahine ho gaye kaam nahin mila card kya karenge, " (It's been four months and we still don't have work).
In Jammu and Kashmir, NREG was supposed to be implemented in three districts. Over 85,000 job cards were distributed in Doda alone.
The recipient of the state's first job card, sarpanch Rajinder Kumar is still waiting.
Sarpanch Rajinder Kumar says, “ Do mahine kaam zaya ho gaye. baraf bhaari pad rahi barish pad rahi. (We have already wasted two months of our work time now it’s going to snow and rain. what will people do?)
The NREG promises work within 15 days since the job card is issued. Or else the cardholder is paid 100 days of wages.
But for the villagers, none of these promises have been fulfilled. The administration blames it on financial glitches.
Doda Deputy commissioner Pawan Kotwal says, “There are 85,000 people who have to be given employment and the total wage budget is Rs 60 crore against this we had only Rs 4 crore.”
It was a promise to bring in employment to the remote hills of Doda. More than a promise it was guarantee, but even eight months later all the people here have is an meaningless job card and promise not kept.