With less than a month to go before payouts under the farm loan waiver scheme start getting transferred to the beneficiaries’ accounts, the Madhya Pradesh government has been alarmed by reports that the lists prepared by primary agriculture cooperative societies (PACS) include farmers who did not take loans or took loans for much smaller amounts than the outstanding shown against their names.
An FIR each was lodged in Katni and Sagar districts against office-bearers of two cooperative societies over fake claims under the scheme. An FIR under Sections 420, 409, 201 and 120 of IPC was lodged against Laxmikant Dubey, manager of Jarwahi cooperative society in Katni district, after a farmer complained that though he had paid his entire loan by March 31, 2018, an outstanding loan of Rs 4.38 lakh was shown against his name.
In another case, an FIR was lodged against three persons, including chairman and manager of Gorzamar primary agriculture cooperative society, in connection with a similar fraud.
The Congress government, which has returned to power in the state after 15 years, initiated the Jai Jawan Crop Loan Waiver Scheme that seeks to waive loans up to Rs 2 lakh each of nearly 55 lakh farmers.
The government has announced setting up district-level control rooms to dispose of complaints and warned that action will be taken against the PACSs involved in irregularities under the legislation governing cooperative societies and theIPC. The process to display lists of potential beneficiaries in panchayats and banks started on January 15. Over last few days, the government got reports about irregularities in the lists from many places. After checking their names on the list, the farmers are expected to submit applications by February 5. The provisional list of beneficiaries will be cleared between February 18 and February 20 and the money transferred into bank accounts from February 22.
CM Kamal Nath, who has returned to India after attending the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, told reporters in Chhindwara on Friday that the alleged irregularities could have taken place only during the BJP rule and not during the last one month. He said a majority of these irregularities have been reported from cooperative banks and he has directed that FIRs be lodged against the culprits.
Many farmers have complained that they never took loans from banks or cooperative societies and were surprised to find their names on the lists. Principal Secretary (Agriculture) Rajesh Rajora said some PACS have tried to make fake claims to siphon off money. He said such offences are being treated as a serious criminal offence. The government has asked the cooperative department to initiate inquiry into these complaints. After February 5, the last date for applying under the scheme, the government will collect details of potential fake claims from all districts.