Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha government admitted that 3.41 lakh ineligible beneficiaries, including government employees, pensioners and minors, have received money under the KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme, the ruling-BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb today come up with his own calculations in a bid to clarify that not all the 3.41 lakh people who received assistance under KALIA scheme are ineligible.

In his statement, that seemed more like an attempt to cover up the faulty identification unit of the State government to select the KALIA beneficiaries, the BJD spokesperson today said that only 32,000 ineligible beneficiaries availed the financial assistance and not 3.41 lakh as was earlier reported by several media houses quoting Odisha Agriculture Minister Arun Sahoo.

Not all the 3.41 lakh beneficiaries are ineligible rather only large farmers and government employees are ineligible. A total of 12,000 large farmers and 20,000 government employees are the only ineligible beneficiaries who have received assistance under the scheme, Deb said.

He further said that multiple members of the same eligible families who have received KALIA assistance are NOT ineligible... Rather, the assistance released to them shall be adjusted in subsequent instalments within five years.

The 9000 minors who have received the assistance, and if their family is eligible, it will also be streamlined in five years. Money will be retrieved from the large farmers who have got KALIA assistance, he said.

He further clarified that the State government has nothing to hide. Whenever such a huge scheme is launched, 2-5 per cent error is seen which a government re-corrects and reorganises with time. In case of Odisha government's KALIA scheme, the rate of error is only '0.62 per cent'.

"So, when the margin of error is only 0.62 per cent but the scheme is tagged as a scam by anyone, either they are politically motivated or have failed to understand it," added Deb.

[caption id="attachment_301560" align="aligncenter" width="739"] Congress MLA Sura Routray (File Pic)[/caption]

However, Congress MLA Sura Routray, coming down heavily on the scheme of the state government said that KALIA assistance to ineligible youths has led to an increase in the rate of drug use in the State. "Except from the government employees, money can't be retrieved from the ineligible beneficiaries. The money of poor people was used to buy votes and win the elections. CM Naveen thinks the State exchequer is his party fund," said Routray.

Congress will hit the streets and gherao all the block offices, district collector's office and protest misutilisation of public money, the Congress legislator added.

[caption id="attachment_402239" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Odisha CM Naveen Addressing Media-Persons In Delhi[/caption]

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who is presently in New Delhi to review projects pending with the government of India, said that the State government 'will work towards retrieving the funds' from the ineligible beneficiaries who have availed assistance under the KALIA scheme.

[caption id="attachment_350536" align="alignnone" width="750"] Odisha Agriculture Minsiter Arun Sahoo (File Pic)[/caption]

Yesterday, Agriculture Minsiter Arun Sahoo had said that the State government, while verifying applications through gram panchayat nodal officers, found that 12,000 large farmers, 9,000 minors and 20,000 government employees and pensioners availed financial assistance under the scheme taking the total distribution of about Rs 170.50 crore assistance to 3.41 lakh ineligible beneficiaries.