Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA from Umerkote, Nityananda Gond targeted the Odisha government on Tuesday over long queues of farmers witnessed in front of the Union Bank branches in Nabarangpur district.

The farmers are queuing up in large numbers at three Union Bank branches to open accounts and deposit cash to avail subsidised borewells under Biju Krishak Vikash Yojana.

Addressing a press conference, Gond said, “All the farmers from Raighar, Umerkote, Jharigaon and other blocks are depositing their money in only one bank. Why did not the government pool in other banks? How much money have they got as kickbacks?”

“The department never consulted the elected representatives like Sarpanch or MLA regarding this. Surprisingly, the scheme was inaugurated by a non-elected person like the advisor of OLIC. This is regretful and undemocratic,” he added.

Replying to Gond, OLIC advisor, Pramod Padhi said, “We have had an agreement with Union Bank for a long. There was no issue last year, but a huge number of farmers have applied this year. That is why we are seeing the long queues.”

“There is no nexus between the bank and government. If the government did not call somebody to inaugurate then how I am responsible for that,” Padhi said.

There are only three branches of Union Bank in the entire Nabarangpur district; one at Umerkote and two others at Nabarangpur town.

The Department of Water Resources has made provisions for the farmers to avail subsidised borewells for lift irrigation projects under the Biju Krishak Vikash Yojana only in the Union Bank of India resulting in an unprecedented rush at those branches.

As per the scheme, the government will provide assistance up to 80% of the estimated capital cost and Pani Panchayat will contribute the rest 20% of the cost.

In the case of tribal sub-plan areas and KBK districts, the assistance has been raised to 90% of the capital cost.