File photo of Congress leaders Ripun Bora and Gaurav Gogoi

The opposition Congress in Assam demanded a CBI probe into the PM-KISAN scheme in the state, claiming that one third of the 36 lakh farmers in the state who received financial support under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme were not eligible for financial help.

Assam Congress president Ripun Bora on July 22 claimed that the state government has also not yet been able to identify the five lakh beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN scheme from the selected list as there is no existence of these five lakh farmers.

Bora, a Rajya Sabha member, said that Assam government has selected around 36 lakh farmer beneficiaries under the PM-KISAN scheme as per the statement of state agriculture minister Atul Bora in the review meeting held in Guwahati on July 5 in the presence of the then Union minister of state for agriculture, Purushattam Rupala.

“The money was also accordingly disbursed to the beneficiary farmers. Thereafter, there was a serious hue and cry in Assam in 2020 when it came to light that most of the beneficiaries were not genuine and they managed to enter in the select list by submitting fake documents,” Ripun Bora told media persons in New Delhi.

“In the July 5 review meeting, Atul Bora had admitted that out of the 36 lakh beneficiaries, only 19.47 lakh were found genuine while 11.72 lakh people were not found genuine and they were not entitled to get Rs 6,000 under the PM-KISAN scheme as per the guidelines,” the Congress leader added.

He said that this is a serious scam and the question which arises is how money sanctioned for the poor farmers can be distributed to undeserving persons?

“The Assam government prepared a list of 36 lakh farmers of which 11.72 lakh were selected through false documents while five lakh beneficiaries were not found in the field. How did this happen?” he questioned.

According to Congress leader Ripun Bora, after the ‘scam’ came to light in Assam, the state government declared that it would take back the money already disbursed to the 11.72 lakh undeserving beneficiaries.

He said Union agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar had on July 20 informed the Parliament that Rs 554.01 crore has to be recovered from 8.35 ineligible farmers in Assam which was paid to them under the PM-KISAN scheme.

“Only a CBI inquiry into this scam of selecting and disbursing financial assistance to 11.72 lakh ineligible farmers and listing another five lakh farmers who are not in existence would unearth the truth,” the Congress leader said.

“Exemplary punishment must be given to those involved in this scam. Also, I demand that the government takes back the funds paid to the ineligible farmers and distribute the same among the actual farmers under the PM-KISAN scheme,” he added.

Congress’ deputy leader Gaurav Gogoi also wrote to Tomar detailing the “irregularities”, demanding a thorough probe to identify the loopholes.

The PM-KISAN scheme was formally launched on February 24, 2019 by prime minister Narendra Modi to provide Rs 6,000 per year to the poor farmers.

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