In order to mitigate the economic hardships being faced by the public due to lockdown, MHA have allowed selected additional activities in rural areas in areas outside containment zones. The endeavour is to give an impetus to the rural economy and also facilitate employment of labour in rural areas. Resuming the development activities in the UT, Rural Development Department (RDD) has started works under flagship employment guarantee scheme MGNREGA to provide much needed mandays to rural populace amid the Covid 19 pandemic. As elsewhere, Block Balwal, in Jammu district, is witnessing massive work execution under the job orientated MGNREGA scheme. Host of new works have been started and work on existing projects resumed across the block under the MGNREGA and other schemes.The works are being executed as per the guidelines issued by the district administration for protection against covid-19 pandemic. The workers are provided quality safety masks and the works are being executed by maintaining adequate social distance. At village Jakhani, panchayat Keran, a pond is coming up at an estimated cost of Rs. 2 lakh with dimensions of 32m x 14 m. A Block chairman’s office is also being constructed at Bhalwal by Rural Engineering wing of RDD. The project involves an estimated cost of Rs. 30 lakh.As per the department, Director RD, Jammu, inspected the pace of work on these projects this afternoon. Enroute, he visited soil testing lab of Agriculture Department, constructed by Rural Engineering Wing at an estimated cost of Rs.49 lakh. The building has a hall measuring 30 m x 50 m and 2 rooms with bathrooms.
So far in Jammu division 5800 works have started in all the ten districts under the scheme. More than 25000 job card holders have been engaged in these works. The Director has instructed the concerned officers to complete all the works under MGNREGA, while ensuring the work is done as per the guidelines issued by the district administration for protection against covid-19 pandemic.While undertaking the works under the flagship scheme, the Department is ensuring that rural infrastructure gets augmented through restoration of traditional water bodies and ponds. This is all the more imperative in wake of the coming summer months when some rural areas face severe water crises. In this connection the Director also visited Panchayat Ghar AMB, where he took stock of renovation of traditional water body (TERSHA POND) and construction of new pond -SHEKAH CHAPPRI proposed under annual action plan for the year 2020-2021.RDD is also playing a pivotal role in the containment of the spread of Coronavirus in the rural areas through mass awareness. Senior Officers of the rank of Assistant Commissioner Development, District Panchayat Officers, Block Development Officers and field functionaries along with selected members of Panchayati Raj Institutions including Chairperson, Block Development Council, Sarpanches and Panches are working in close coordination with District Administration in the management and containment of COVID-19 in rural areas. It has undertaken different activities to generate awareness among rural population about various preventive measures to be adopted to prevent the spread of the virus, like frequent washing hand, maintaining social distancing and remaining indoor as far as possible and wearing masks. Besides, the Department is also actively involved in distribution of masks among the rural masses.