West Bengal BJP president Dilip Ghosh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the Centre not to release any funds under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi without proper checking and verification of data approved by the State.
“The beneficiary list verified by the State Government needs thorough checking &verification at the level of Union Government so that any genuine beneficiary is not excluded from the benefits. Without proper checking & verification of the data of the beneficiaries as approved by the State on the part of Union Government, no further allotment should be released in the scheme,” Mr. Ghosh said in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister earlier this week.
Earlier this month, about seven lakh farmers received one instalment (₹2,000) as benefits under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi for the first time since the launch of the scheme in three years. During the run-up to the State Assembly polls, senior BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had promised ₹18,000 (all pending instalments for three years) under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi to about 70 lakh farmers in the State.
Mr. Ghosh pointed out that that West Bengal was predominantly an agrarian State with 69 lakh farmers eligible for PM Kisan benefits, but 96% of these farmers fell under the small and marginal categories, much worse than the national average of 86.2% according to the 10th Agriculture Census of 2015-16.
“Out of total eligible farmers, nearly 23 lakh farmers got themselves registered on PM Kisan portal and of which about 7 lakh beneficiaries only got the benefit of the scheme for the present,” he added.
The BJP leader has urged that the total list of beneficiaries of West Bengal should be published in the PM Kisan portal and in the office of District Magistrates, Blocks and Panchayats for citizens so that people in the villages know the enlisted beneficiaries and make claims and objections against any fraud beneficiary within the prescribed time period.
The BJP leader, in the communication, has also alleged that the Trinamool Congress government has perpetuated “syndicate raj” in all spheres of life in West Bengal where no work gets done without common people having to pay “cut money” in return for including them in the beneficiary lists of all the government schemes.
“We apprehend that the names of genuine beneficiaries might be found missing from the verified list made ready for payment by the state govt for the present scheme,” Mr. Ghosh has written in the letter.
For almost three years, there was a tussle between the State government and the Centre over PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. The Trinamool Congress government maintained that its scheme of providing cash transfer to farmers ‘Krishak Bandhu’ was more inclusive.
In an open letter dated May 13, a day before benefits under the PM Kisan were transferred to accounts of seven lakh farmers, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee accused the Centre of delaying the disbursal of the scheme and said the Trinamool Congress had first started ‘Krishak Bandhu’ scheme in 2018, which was a “model for the entire country”.
“You all were supposed to get ₹18,000 but have received a very small amount. Even this sum would not have been transferred had we not fought for it. We will continue this fight till you get the entire allocation,” Ms. Banerjee said in her letter addressed to people of the State.