Nayagarh artists allege irregularities in pension distribution

Nayagarh: The artists of Itamati area in Nayagarh district have leveled serious allegations of irregularities in the distribution of pension under Mukhya Mantri Kalakar Sahayata Yojana (MMKSY) to the actual beneficiaries.

Bhagirathi Sahoo, a known brass founder and Basant Kumar Sahoo, who makes costumes for opera artistes of Itamati area, have alleged that they are deprived of the MMKSY despite having attained 70 years of age and recognised as artists by the district collector.

Not only these two, but 30 other artists from the area also came up with similar complaints. The artists further alleged that they had given Rs 2,000 each to some middlemen of the village, who assured them to bail out of the situation. However, they are yet to get any aid.

“The pension declared by the Chief Minister had raised hopes among the artists as it would have helped us financially. But the scheme has failed to ensure social security to us due to the middlemen in the villages. It is because of them that the non-beneficiaries are getting benefits from the scheme and the eligible artists are deprived of the pension,” alleged Basant.

“I had applied four times for the pension and paid Rs 2000 for the same. They assured us to give the pension but I have not received a single penny. I want my pension,” informed Basant.

On the other hand, Nayagarh district collector N. Thirumala Nayak stated that a thorough investigation will be carried out if any such irregularities are detected.

“After the allegations came to fore, the BDO was directed to include the left out beneficiaries and committees were also formed at the block and NAC levels under the chairmanship of the BDO. The artists who were not included in beneficiary list were personally asked to apply for the pension again and a final list has also been released,” informed Nayak, adding that if anyone has any complaint regarding the list, the matter will be investigated.