Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS): There has been a major decline in the number of registrations by farmers for food-grain procurement by state entities in West Bengal this year in wake of the arrest of West Bengal Minister Jyotipriya Mallick, the BJP has alleged.
Jyotipriya Mallick was arrested by Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths in connection with the multi-crore ration distribution case in West Bengal.
According to the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, since the fall in the number of farmers’ registration has coincided with the minister’s arrest; it is evident that the registration numbers were being inflated earlier.
“Last year 29 lakh farmers got themselves registered for grain procurement. This year till date the number is just 11 lakhs. Now, it has to be kept in mind that funds for food grain procurement are provided in advance by the Centre to all states. So we think that fund defalcation was done in the procurement process last year through fake registration of farmers. As per information available with me the fund defalcation on this count will be nothing less than Rs 5,000 crore,” the LoP told media persons on Thursday.
While this is one way of defalcation, Adhikari added, the other way is paying less money to the farmers against the amount of grain actually procured from them.
“There are complaints from several pockets in the state that the procurement agencies were paying the farmers the price of just 19 quintals of food grain against every 20 quintals actually procured. So the state government was depriving the farmers as well,” the LoP alleged.
Till the time of the filing of this report, there was no official reaction from the ruling Trinamool Congress on the issue.