Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha government has put on hold the recovery of KALIA money from ineligible recipients following criticisms from the Opposition, reports of many legitimate beneficiaries not receiving the funds yet has raised the eyebrows.

Just before the general elections of 2019, the Odisha government had promised to provide Rs 10,000 in two instalments to all eligible farmers. However, some farmers are reportedly yet to get their share of assistance from the State-run scheme.

OTV spoke to one such farmer, Sikka Antarao from Dhepaguda village under Rayagada’s Kalyansinghpur block and found that while he has been receiving money under the Central government's PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme regularly, he has received only one instalment of KALIA scheme but yet to get the second payment.

Similarly, Kunjabihari Pradhan, a farmer from Petupali village in Bargarh district said, “Farmers in my village have got PM Kisan money in all the six instalments so far but the 2nd instalment of KALIA still eludes them.”

Meanwhile, the decision of the Odisha government to recover KALIA aid from 1.6 lakh ineligible beneficiaries and then again putting the process in abeyance has invited severe criticisms from the political parties.

While the Odisha government has cited COVID pandemic as the reason to halt the money recovery drive, the Opposition has questioned government’s motive by asking whether COVID-19 was not the case when the government served refund notices to all those farmers in July 2020.

Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly, Pradipta Nayak even went on a step further and demanded to waive off all the recoveries from ineligible beneficiaries adding that the money should ideally have been recovered from the erring officials who had listed ineligible farmers on the list.

Congress’ Tara Bahinipati said, “Odisha government has become mentally unstable.”

Reacting to the opposition’s allegations, Chief Whip of the ruling party said, “This issue concerns farmers and they will return the money whenever they feel comfortable.”

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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