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Saikia for CBI probe into �anomalies�

By STAFF REPORTER
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GUWAHATI, May 4 - Alleging anomalies in the selection of lists of beneficiaries for the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Sa Sajuli Yojana and corruption in implementation of the scheme, Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia has called upon the State government to conduct a CBI inquiry into the matter.

Saikia said that local panchayat representatives, the Pathar Parichalana Samitis and legislators of the Opposition parties have not been taken into confidence while preparing the lists of beneficiaries for disbursal of one-time financial assistance to 30 lakh farmers under the scheme.

He alleged that the beneficiaries� lists have been prepared by local cadres of the BJP and added that there have been several anomalies in the process.

Saikia said the previous Congress government had also implemented a similar scheme in Assam.

�However, during our time the funds were only released after farmers submitted vouchers regarding the purchases they had made. Now there is no voucher system. The money is being transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries but there is no monitoring about how the funds have been spent. Even block-level Agriculture officials have been kept in the dark. It is clear that there is corruption. Complaints have come from people across the State,� said Saikia, who is also Leader of the State Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

He demanded that the State government immediately go for a CBI inquiry into the case.

The Congress leader also accused the Centre and the State government of failing to formulate proper plans of action with regard to the ongoing lockdown.

�Many daily wage earners and small traders have lost their earnings. It is unfortunate that during this period the State government has not been able to put in place a system ensuring that basic needs of individuals and families are taken care of. Many NGOs and also individuals have been extending assistance to the needy. But they cannot afford to do so for an indefinite period. There is now a real possibility that more people will fall victim to hunger and starvation in Assam than to COVID-19,� Saikia said.

According to him, the government cannot wash its hands off after just providing rice to the people, whereas the Relief Manual states that lentils, edible oil, vegetables and baby food, among other things, should be provided to people in distress.

�But needy people in Assam are not getting those things. The Centre has announced a package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore to the states. How much has Assam received? ... Lakhs of youths from Assam are stuck in other states and have received no assistance. Both the Central and the State governments have failed to act in a planned manner,� said Saikia.

He alleged that many farmers and workers across various districts of Assam are facing starvation.

�The State government should provide packets of essential commodities to all the affected families. Many workers and peasants are facing food scarcity due to the lockdown. The government should set up community kitchens at various places to help such needy people and provide them cooked food while maintaining social distancing norms,� said the Leader of the Opposition.

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Saikia for CBI probe into �anomalies�

GUWAHATI, May 4 - Alleging anomalies in the selection of lists of beneficiaries for the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Sa Sajuli Yojana and corruption in implementation of the scheme, Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia has called upon the State government to conduct a CBI inquiry into the matter.

Saikia said that local panchayat representatives, the Pathar Parichalana Samitis and legislators of the Opposition parties have not been taken into confidence while preparing the lists of beneficiaries for disbursal of one-time financial assistance to 30 lakh farmers under the scheme.

He alleged that the beneficiaries� lists have been prepared by local cadres of the BJP and added that there have been several anomalies in the process.

Saikia said the previous Congress government had also implemented a similar scheme in Assam.

�However, during our time the funds were only released after farmers submitted vouchers regarding the purchases they had made. Now there is no voucher system. The money is being transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries but there is no monitoring about how the funds have been spent. Even block-level Agriculture officials have been kept in the dark. It is clear that there is corruption. Complaints have come from people across the State,� said Saikia, who is also Leader of the State Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

He demanded that the State government immediately go for a CBI inquiry into the case.

The Congress leader also accused the Centre and the State government of failing to formulate proper plans of action with regard to the ongoing lockdown.

�Many daily wage earners and small traders have lost their earnings. It is unfortunate that during this period the State government has not been able to put in place a system ensuring that basic needs of individuals and families are taken care of. Many NGOs and also individuals have been extending assistance to the needy. But they cannot afford to do so for an indefinite period. There is now a real possibility that more people will fall victim to hunger and starvation in Assam than to COVID-19,� Saikia said.

According to him, the government cannot wash its hands off after just providing rice to the people, whereas the Relief Manual states that lentils, edible oil, vegetables and baby food, among other things, should be provided to people in distress.

�But needy people in Assam are not getting those things. The Centre has announced a package of Rs 1.70 lakh crore to the states. How much has Assam received? ... Lakhs of youths from Assam are stuck in other states and have received no assistance. Both the Central and the State governments have failed to act in a planned manner,� said Saikia.

He alleged that many farmers and workers across various districts of Assam are facing starvation.

�The State government should provide packets of essential commodities to all the affected families. Many workers and peasants are facing food scarcity due to the lockdown. The government should set up community kitchens at various places to help such needy people and provide them cooked food while maintaining social distancing norms,� said the Leader of the Opposition.

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