Bhubaneswar: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday urged farmers not to refund the money which they had received from Odisha government as assistance under KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme.
Slamming the State government’s move to seek a refund, Leader of Opposition (LoP), Pradipta Naik said, “The State government should fix accountability on those who had prepared the list and selected the ineligible beneficiaries.”
The senior BJP leader further stated that the farmers were given the money ahead of elections eyeing votes. However, after winning the polls, the ruling-BJD is now seeking a refund from farmers.
Naik informed that the State government has written to nearly 3.41 lakh farmers (ineligible beneficiaries) to refund Rs 5,000, which they had received as assistance under the KALIA scheme.
“The State government had earmarked Rs 5000 crore for the scheme and provide assistance of Rs 2550 crore to nearly 51 lakh farmers,” said Naik.
Earlier, Odisha Agriculture Secretary had informed that around 50,000 out of the total 51.05 lakh people who availed benefits under the KALIA scheme are ineligible.
While some of them have returned the money, the State government has asked others to voluntarily refund the financial assistance through a dedicated government account number.
Responding to the BJP’s allegations, senior BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said, “I don’t know under what context the BJP leader has made such comments. However, only making allegations is not enough, they (BJP) should come up with evidence to support the allegations.”
(Edited By Pradeep Singh)