More lapses surface in implementation of KALIA scheme

Bhubaneswar: After allegations of irregularities in availability of forms for enrolment in the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme and selection of beneficiaries, farmers across the State have complained that the cash transfers received under the scheme are being involuntary deducted from the account against farm loans.

The farmers alleged that banks have deducted money after the State government credited Rs 5,000 as first instalment under KALIA scheme. On the other hand, banks said they have deducted the money from account of farmers who were supposed to repay loans.

The account of Debendra Sahoo, a farmer of Jamusoli village in Balasore district at UCO Bank was credited with Rs 5,000 on January 28. However, when he visited the bank to withdraw the money, bank authorities allegedly took his signature and informed him that the money has been deducted on account of pending loans. Similar allegations were levelled by other farmers of the village as well. Displeased over the move, farmers later gheraoed the bank.

Resentment among farmers was also reported from Mandapala and Kotapala villages of Dhenkanal district and Punitala village in Bolangir district following similar deductions by different banks.

“After hearing that the money under the KALIA scheme has been transferred, I visited the bank. But the manager asked me to sign certain documents and told me there was a loan amount to be repaid. Therefore, money has been deducted from the account. I had to return empty handed,” said Debendra Sahoo, a farmer.

“What is the meaning of providing this financial assistance then?” asked farmer Nilambar Jena of Jamusoli village.

A farmer from Mandapala in Dhenkanal, Sarbeswara Brahma said, “I got a message regarding transfer of Rs 5,000 into my account. When I visited the bank, the manager told me the money has been deducted.”
Similar allegations were made by Debabrata Sahoo of Kotapala who stated that Canara Bank deducted Rs 4,000 from his account and gave only Rs 1,000.

Meanwhile, Jamusuli branch manager of UCO Bank, Arun Mohapatra said the money is being deducted after consent from people and the allegations are false.

On the other hand, the Agriculture department secretary Sourav Garg said the banks have been directed not to deduct the amount given under KALIA scheme from the bank accounts of farmers.

“We have already asked the banks not make any deductions on account of past commitments and they have agreed to cooperate with us. Farmers can spend the money as per their wishes,” Garg said.

The State government has credited Rs 5,000 to bank accounts of 12.45 lakh small and marginal farmers in the first phase under the KALIA scheme.