Jagatsinghpur, August 22 (LocalWire): While hundreds of poor farmers have been deprived from availing financial assistance under KALIA (Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation) scheme, many rich and influential people have received its benefits.
The irregularities were exposed after the chairman of Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) of Tirtol block received aid under this scheme.
Names of genuine farmers have been deleted and names of ruling party workers, government servants, pension holders and other rich persons added in a racket rampant in the block.
Prakash Swain with serial number 227 and with KALIA identification number 128060867 availed financial assistance of Rs 25,000 from this scheme illegally. ATMA chairman’s sister-in-law is the sarpanch of Gopalpur panchayat under Tirtol block.
After receiving complaints against Swain, the agriculture department retrenched him from the chairman of ATMA post.
Other farmers alleged that this was not an one-off case but that several influential people have been allegedly receiving Rs 25,000 from KALIA scheme while hundreds of farmers were striving to get benefits.
In May, irate farmers led by their leader Chaitanya Charan Das had demonstrated and kept hostage both the executive officer of Purnabasant panchyat under Raghunathpur block and secretary of Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS) to protest the irregularities in selection of beneficiaries for KALIA and the illegal deletion of farmers from the enrollment list.
Deputy Director, Agriculture, Ram Chandra Nayak said the department was not aware regarding the payment to Swain.
He promised that steps will be taken to recover the money from him.