Pradeep Pattanayak

At a time when the government is laying emphasis on farmers and making budgetary allocations for their development, the farmers in Koraput district are a worried lot. 

Though they have repaid their loans, they are shown as debtors in the official documents. This indicates that some others have taken loans in their names through manipulation. 

Prafulla Kumar Swain of Jhadagaon village in Koraput district is one such farmer. He had taken a loan of Rs 20,000 from Kundura Large Area Multipurpose Society (LAMPS) and repaid it as well. But in the LAMPS documents, it is mentioned that Prafulla is yet to repay Rs 1,02,000. 

“I came to know that the MD and the staff had withdrawn more than Rs 1 lakh by forging my signature. When confronted, the MD said he has many such allegations and they are being investigated,” said Swain. 

Swain is not alone in this predicament. Several other farmers of Jhadagaon, Digapur, Lima and Sagarguda villages are also sharing the same fate. In the LAMPS documents, it is shown that they are yet to repay Rs 1 lakh. 

What gives credence to the allegation that money has been embezzled in the name of gullible farmers is that their passbooks are still with the LAMPS. 

When OTV team visited Kundura LAMPS to verify the allegations, it found the office locked. 

“There is no one inside the office. Goud babu asked me to lock the office and went on a field visit,” said Ramchandra Goud, an employee of Kundura LAMPS. 

Earlier, similar allegations of forgery emerged from 55 LAMPS in districts like Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Malkangiri and the investigation reports are yet to be submitted. 

Fearing that they have fallen victim to some unscrupulous staff, the worried farmers of Jeypore recently met the KCC Bank secretary and the Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies (DRCS), requesting their intervention. 

“We have been directed for an investigation. Officers from the ARCS office, nodal officers, BM and other officers from our bank will probe the allegations,” said president, KCC Bank, Jeypore, Ishwar Chandra Panigrahi. 

Such fraud allegations also came from Bhogarai area in Balasore district and Krushnaprasad area in Puri district. 

According to the allegations, even though an amount of Rs 32,927 came towards crop insurance payable to Nilamani Dalei, a farmer of Krushnaprasad area, she was allegedly paid only Rs 15,000. 

Similarly, the then secretary of Mahagaba Samabaya Samiti in Bhogarai block didn’t disburse the bonus amount received in 2015. 

When contacted, Bhogarai Samabaya Samiti secretary, Samir Dey told our team, “Since it occurred in past, we can’t say anything about it.”

He advised our team to seek details through RTI Act.