Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Within 10 days of its announcement, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today launched the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme along with its website, logo and beneficiary list. Official sources said 21.40 lakh beneficiaries have been included in the first phase and the collectors have been directed to implement the scheme from today.

However, chief secretary in a letter issued yesterday had directed all district collectors to complete the first meeting of the district level committee by December 31, 2018. Surprisingly, the chief secretary had discussed the issue with all district collectors through video-conferencing at around 3:30 pm today and barely two-hours later the chief minister inaugurated the KALIA scheme at 5:30 pm today.

As per the modalities fixed for the implementation of KALIA scheme, the government has asked concerned officials to identify and notify the beneficiaries between January 2 and January 10, 2019 while monetary assistance of Rs 5,000 for Rabi crops will be directly credited to their bank accounts between January 22 and January 25 in the first phase.

The identification of farmers for the second phase will start from January 20 and will continue till January 30 and monetary assistance will be provided between February 13 and 15.

Meanwhile, major opposition parties today targeted the Odisha government over KALIA scheme and termed it as a mere political gimmick ahead of the 2019 elections.

“It is a damage control tactics of BJD government and an attempt to garner votes,” said Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief, Niranjan Patnaik.

On the other hand, a delegation of the BJP met Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal and questioned Odisha government’s move to provide money to farmers through a contingency fund.

“From where Odisha government got data about are 36 lakh small and marginal farmers in the State? And what contingency funds are being used for the KALIA scheme which doesn’t have constitutional validity as no budgetary provision was made by the State government,” alleged BJP vice president, Samir Mohanty.

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra on the other claimed that the opposition parties are giving such misleading statements and criticising KALIA scheme for political gains.