BARPETA, April 28 - A flagship scheme of the Central government� the Prime Minister Kisan Kalyan Nidhi is going to open the doors of fortune for many people in Barpeta district. This scheme was introduced by the Central government in its Budget this year to help marginal farmers. As per its provisions, 120 million small and marginal farmers with less than two hectares of agricultural land were proposed to be assisted with an amount of Rs 500 monthly or Rs 6000 annually as minimum income support.
Registration of farmers to get the benefit was opened on December 12, 2018 and the last date of uploading details of beneficiaries was fixed on February 25 last. It was also proposed that the first instalment of Rs 2000 will be disbursed before March 31 this year. The disbursement was formally inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Nodi on February 24 last.
But the real purpose of such an ambitious welfare scheme will get nipped in the bud as major anomalies have surfaced in the scheme in Barpeta district and the figure it is likely to cross several crores, if this goes on unchecked.
According to information available, though the last date of registration and uploading of documents of the beneficiaries in the nic portal was February 25, the portal remained open for several days. Forms were distributed among the farmers by the District Agriculture Office and were collected before the last date. They were successfully uploaded in the portal.
But it was observed that registration was going on in full swing in some computer centres of the district till March 20. Later on, the process did not remain confined to farmers but spread to the family members and persons not at all connected with agriculture. Most of the persons registered in the district have nothing at all to do with agriculture or its allied services. Most of them have no land at all either of their own credit or of their dependants.
The only qualification required was to have a link with a person capable to enter their details such as name , address, identity proof and bank details in the portal earmarked for this purpose.
A wide market has grown up in the district for this purpose as it is known that amount varying from Rs 50 to Rs 500 was collected against each entry. Interestingly, passwords of authorised officials were used in this process as anybody willing to enter his or her name cannot access the portal. Even some fake beneficiaries have received the first instalment of Rs 2000 in the last few days.
When contacted, the District Agriculture Officer Krishnakanta Pathak acknowledged the anomaly to some extent. He informed that password of some officials authorised for this purpose have been stolen by some people and they committed the crime to earn some extra money. He informed that an enquiry will be ordered into the matter and the registration has been suspended for the time being. Moreover, the Deputy Commissioner has also been apprised about the development and guidance is being sought from him.
Genuine farmers have expressed shock and anguish over the corrupt practices in a scheme specially meant for them. They apprehend that if it continues they may even be deprived from their dues. They have also demanded a thorough enquiry into the entire episode and bringing of the culprit to book immediately.