Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Chief Spokesperson Dr. Dasoju Sravan has suspected a major scam in the ‘Rythu Bandhu‘ scheme of TRS Government which aims to provide financial assistance of Rs. 4,000 per acre as investment support to farmers.
Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Wednesday, Sravan alleged that the official statistics show a huge contradiction in actual number of farmers and cultivable area which leads everyone to believe that a major scam was brewing in the name of Rythu Bandhu scheme.
He pointed out that as per the intensive agriculture survey conducted by the State Government, there were 45,10,990 farmers in 10,733 revenue villages and they posses 1,24,06,476 acres of land. In majority of villages, the total agriculture land is between 1-500 acres while nearly 9,000 villages have about 2,000 acres of land.
If the authorities are to be believed, then each and every farmer and entire land parcels have been counted in the survey.
However, Sravan said that the TRS Government has now come up with escalated figures of total number of farmers and as well as total agriculture area. As pert he announcement of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, the input subsidy of Rs. 4,000 per acre would be given to over 58 lakh farmers in the State.
Similarly, as against 1.24 crore acres of agriculture land found in the survey, now the government is claiming that it would distribute input subsidy for 1.39 crore acres. “From where these extra 13 lakh farmers and 15.60 lakh acres of land have emerged?” he asked.
The Congress leader said that the extent of agriculture land got reduced due to the acquisition for several major projects. However, instead of reduction, lakhs of farmers and acres of land have suddenly increased. This leads us to suspect large scale irregularities in the Rythu Bandhu Scheme even before its launch.
The State Government will incur an expenditure of Rs. 520 crore on additional 13 lakh farmers or Rs. 624 crore on additional land which have emerged from nowhere. The Chief Minister should clarify on these statistics, he demanded.
He also alleged that the TRS Government was trying to take advantage of non-linking of farmers’ Aadhar card with the land holdings. Of about 75 lakh, the government says it could not link nearly 30.96 lakh land holdings.
In this case, how could the government ensure transparency and fool proof mechanism to avoid manipulation and fake passbook? Further, he said that the role of Gram Panchayats have been completely removed which makes the entire process unaccountable and prone to irregularities.
Sravan said that providing an input subsidy of Rs. 4,000 per acre would not help the farmers in any manner. He said farmers needed MSP for their produce and absolute control over spurious seeds and fertilizers. “TRS Government is just trying to play an election gimmick by distributing Rs. 4,000 per acre to farmers.
If it was sincere towards farmers, then it would have taken measures like introducing Market Intervention Fund, MSP and steps to eradicate spurious seeds and fertilizers,” he said while adding that the present TRS Government was not “Rythu Bandhu (friend)” but an enemy.
The Congress leader also pointed out that neighbouring States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha have taken several measures to help the farmers in the respective States. For instance, he said that the Karnataka Government is giving a bonus of Rs. 1500 on Tur Dal.
Similarly, AP is giving Rs. 1500 bonus on MSP of Rs. 6,000 for Chilli Crop. While Punjab Government has waived off crop loans up to Rs. 2 lakh, Maharashtra has waived off agriculture loans up to Rs. 1.5 lakh. In Haryana, farmers are being assistance of Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000 for purchase of animals.
The Odisha Govt has provided crop insurance facility to nearly 57 lakh farmers. Except, Telangana Govt many other States have taken measures to bail out farmers who are in distress, he alleged.
Sravan said TRS Government did not anything for the farmers during the last four years and it was State’s neglect that drove over 4,500 farmers to suicide. He said as per the Socio-Economic Survey, SC and ST farmers were being denied bank loans.
He said many farmers have committed suicide due to rising debts. He said that the TRS Government did not extend any assistance to the families of farmers who committed suicide. In the present circumstances being faced by the farmers, assistance of Rs. 40,000 to each farmer would not be of any help.
He claimed that the previous Congress regime had done a lot for the farmers’ welfare during its 10 year rule. Besides waiving off crop loans, it provided free power and subsidy on purchase of agriculture equipment.
A total of 31 irrigations projects were constructed and of them, almost 70-90% works on 25 projects were completed during Congress regime itself.
Sravan also questioned KCR for not referring the alleged scam in printing of patta passbooks to ACB. He also showed a sample of passbook prepared by Govt of India Security Press with 18 security features and long lasting quality.
Compared to this, he said that the passbook printed through private parties was of sub-standard quality and high cost. As against the actual cost of only Rs. 30-35, it was printed for an escalated cost of Rs. 158 per passbook, he alleged. (INN)