Techies take up MNREGA project during lockdown to help their village in Karnataka

They worked for 30 man-days and each earned ₹299 per day

Five young techies from Bengaluru, who went back to their village during lockdown, decided to get their hands dirty to set an example to others.

The youngsters, all from Melina Kuruvalli in Thirthahalli taluk, took up works under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that benefited their village.

Naveen K.S., Manu, Madhu, Mahesh S. and Nagaraj are neighbours in Vittal Nagar in Melina Kuruvalli gram panchayat. They are from agricultural families, but now settled in Bengaluru.

Back in the village during lockdown, they pitched in with plantation work along with their parents and other members of the family. They soon realised the need to take up civil works to manage rainwater.

Naveen, a 29-year-old BE graduate who works for a tech company, says, “We came to know that under the MGNREGA, we could take up works that would help the community. With the help of gram panchayat members and officers, we raised a demand for work that involved clearing the path of a stream. The work was approved. We enrolled our names for the scheme and got job cards.”

He and his friends worked for 30 man-days and earned ₹299 per day.

“It was a good experience. Initially, it was a bit difficult to get adjusted to physical labour. Every day, we worked between 9.30 a.m. and 3.30 p.m. Many women and aged people also got jobs because of our efforts to get this work approved,” he says.

Mahesh S., a 32-year-old software engineer, said his family members and people in the village were all happy with the work. “I am planning to return to Bengaluru next week. We all are happy to have done some good work for our village,” he said.

Malnad region is known for poor response to MGNREGA. However, during lockdown, people hardly had job opportunities.

Manjunath H.L., Panchayat Development Officer, said, “We are happy that these youths came forward to take up the work and motivated others to join them. They did a good job, and completed a project that was helpful for the village.”

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