Saswat Singhdeo

 Bhubaneswar: Opposition parties today targeted the Odisha government over the KALIA scheme alleging that it was rolled out only to gain political mileage ahead of elections.

Questions including how beneficiaries were chosen, source of funds and how sharecroppers are being benefitted were raised during a discussion on an adjournment motion in the Odisha Assembly today. While Congress alleged that the scheme is only meant for helping BJD party workers, Opposition party chief whip Mohan Majhi said that KALIA scheme was only a gimmick to garner maximum votes and the State government failed to select the beneficiaries in a proper manner.

When deputy speaker directed Majhi to shorten his speech, the legislator expressed his displeasure and stopped midway. Supporting Majhi, BJP MLAs walked out of the House when Agriculture Minister was replying to the question. The Minister said that a detailed list of beneficiaries will be released on the official website of the department in August.

"KALIA scheme was only made to help the BJD and Biju Yuva Vahini members. The State government has failed to manage the scheme and that's why it has failed to submit the exact number of beneficiaries," Congress leader, Sura Routray said.

Majhi said, "They have used KALIA scheme to win the general elections. The Odisha government has not selected beneficiaries objectively and is trying to muzzle our voices."

As per the State government, till now 51,05,290 beneficiaries have received assistance under the KALIA scheme and 25 lakh more farmers will be given assistance, informed Agriculture Minister, Arun Kumar Sahoo in the Assembly.

"Till now, 51 lakh famers and agricultural labourers have been given assistance under the KALIA scheme. The information regarding this will be available in the public domain in the month of August," Sahoo said.

In Gunupur area of Rayagada, many farmers have expressed resentment alleging that they haven't received any cash assistance.

"They had assured us financial assistance, but after elections they have forgotten all the promises they made," a farmer, Raghunath Sabar, said.

Another farmer, Jagannath Sabar, alleged: "They are saying the money has come, but I don't find a penny in my bank account."