Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: If it can be termed so, it could be a very costly oversight, as 3 lakh ineligible beneficiaries have been identified in the KALIA scheme and Odisha government has already disbursed a whopping Rs 150 crore to them under the scheme.

In Bhadrak’s Basudevpur block, out of 28,714 farmers who received cash assistance under KALIA scheme, 6,083 are ineligible. As per reports, one among every 5 beneficiaries who have received assistance from the State government under the scheme is ineligible.

Sources said more than Rs 3 crore has been transferred to the bank accounts of ineligible beneficiaries which account for 21% of the total beneficiaries in Basudevpur block. Surprisingly, a sharecropper Sudhakar Rout of Kismat Krushnapur area in the same block has not received any cash under KALIA scheme.

“Those who own buildings are receiving cash under KALIA scheme, but poor people like us are not getting any money. With a lot of hope, I had applied for KALIA scheme but I feel dejected now,” said Sudhakar.

Jagabandhu Mishra, Assistant Agriculture Officer of Basudevpur block said, “As many as 28,714 farmers were identified, out of which 6,083 are ineligible beneficiaries as per the date received from panchayat office.”

While the State government had assured to remove the names of ineligible beneficiaries from KALIA scheme, Agriculture Department is yet to take any action which has led to resentment among farmers.

A farmer leader, Ashok Pradhan said, “The State government didn’t even think about ineligible beneficiaries while rolling out the scheme before elections.”

What is even more surprising is that, while the State government had released the cash assistance under KALIA for 51 lakh farmers, a list of only 30,80,526 farmers was sent for PM-Kisan scheme.

Meanwhile, the Opposition parties have slammed the State government for providing cash assistance to ineligible beneficiaries.

“The State government doesn’t have any right to misuse the taxpayers’ money," Odisha BJP vice president, Samir Mohanty said.

Congress leader Ananta Sethi said, “Who is going to compensate the amount of funds that has been wasted by the State government? They should think about it now.”

Speaking on the issue, ruling-BJD spokesperson Amar Patnaik said, “The BJP leaders don’t have the knowledge of this process. Had we checked the list for PM-Kisan, we wouldn’t have been able to release the funds.”

On Monday, Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, who was in Bhubaneswar, had said that all the farmers of Odisha will be included in PM-Kisan scheme.