Odisha: Govt money siphoned off in Dharakote Block of Ganjam dist!

Berhampur: During the pandemic, Odisha Government provided seedlings and financial assistance to farmers through the horticulture department in Dharakote block so that they can get some income at this tough period. However, it has been alleged that out of this a large amount of assistance did not reach the actual beneficiaries; rather the money was siphoned off by some corrupt officials.

Like many other areas, Corona pandemic also badly affected Ganjam district of Odisha. With this affect, many people lost their source of income. Even many struggled to arrange two times’ meal for the family.

At this time Odisha Government came to the help of the people and provided work under the MGNREGA scheme. Accordingly, the farmer families were given works.

The Block administration and Horticulture department encouraged the farmers in Dharakote block for farming of lemon, mango and cashew so that they can self-sustain at this tough time of pandemic. Seedlings were distributed to farmers along with financial assitance to carry on farming. However, the fund that meant for the farmers were allegedly siphoned off. The persons behind this corruption can be known after investigation. However, the victims of this corruption are the innocent farmers. They even don’t know anything about it. Kalinga TV comes up with a report.

Most people of the 18 panchayats of Dharakote block depend upon agriculture. Many of them are in hand to mouth condition. Their financial backbone broke during the pandemic in 2019. At such situation Odisha government provided them source of income. Accordingly, they were provided work under the MGNREGA scheme. The Block administration and the Horticulture department provided assistance to many farmers in the Saradhapur, Baharpur, Olamba, Machhakot, Dhaugan, Baradadelhi, Singipur and other panchayats in Dharakote block. Through job card financial assistance as well as seedlings were provided for farming of lemon, mango, papaya, coconut etc.

During Covid pandemic lemon was in high demand. Even at times one lemon cost more than Rs 10. And due to its health benefits it was in demand. Also, mango and papaya seedlings were provided for farming as these were in demand for their health benefits. However, it has been alleged that taking benefit of the simplicity of the farmers, some officers of the horticulture department siphoned off government money to the tune of crores in the false names of farmers.  As per the allegation, the farmers whose names have been enrolled in the register, have never seen any horticulture officers. No women went to farm lemon, mango etc.

It has been shown that in Kusharaba village in Saradhapur panchayat financial assistance was given. The MGNREBA display board has been broken in this place. We can see no fruit trees here, rather unwanted plants have grown.

It has also been alleged that funds have been siphoned using names of Murali Gauda, Jaga Gauda, Dhoba Gauda and Panchu Pradhan of this village. Similarly, it has been shown that seedlings were provided in Olamba village. In the report it has been shown that Rina Panigahi, Amali Sahu, Nandi Nyak, Dibakar Sabat and Sudhakar Nayak were provided benefits, but actually these people did not received any benefit from the horticulture department.

Besides, Govt has appointed Krushaka Sathis in each panchayat who can explain about new schemes and benefits of the government to the farmers. However, these Krushanka sathi have said that no officials from the horticulture department came to them. How come the famers were given seedlings, they questioned.

Presently, the farmers want to harvest cashew, lemon mango etc. in their fields.

It has also been alleged that even money has been siphoned off in the name of people who do not have any agricultural land.

On the other hand nobody from the horticulture department wants to tell anything in this matter. Accordingly, Kalinga TV reporter met Bhanjanagar sub collector. He has said that if the allegation is true, strong action will be taken.

It has been demanded that proper investigation should be done to punish the wrongdoer.

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