The Prime Minister today released over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmer families across the country under the second tranche of the scheme.
With a section of farmers sitting on protest over the new farm laws, the ruling BJP turned the occasion into a mega exercise to reach out to the community.
Later addressing a virtual event, the Prime Minister singled out the West Bengal government and said: “Today I regret that more than 70 lakh farmers of West Bengal have not been able to get benefits of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi. More than 23 lakh farmers of Bengal have applied online to take advantage of this scheme. But the state government has stopped the verification process for so long.”
Modi said the Mamata Banerjee government has destroyed West Bengal and was playing politics by stopping benefits for farmers in the state.
He said the entire country is benefiting from the PM-KISAN programme, but only one state, West Bengal, has not implemented this scheme.
It is worthwhile to note that Mamata Banerjee had last week spoken to farmers protesting in Delhi and assured them that her party Trinamool stands by them.
A five-member delegation of TMC MPs had also met the farmers in Delhi to support their protest against the new farm laws.
PM misleading farmers with half-truths: Mamata
Mamata reacted strongly to PM’s charge and accused him of trying to mislead the farmers of West Bengal with half-truths.
“Today, PM showed apparent concern for farmers through televised address, instead of proactively working to resolve their issues. While he publicly claimed his intention to help farmers of West Bengal through his PM Kisan Yojana … fact is he’s trying to mislead people with half-truth,” Mamata said.
Mamata further alleged that that the Modi Government had done nothing to help West Bengal.
“They are yet to release even a portion of the Rs 85,000 crore of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of Rs 8,000 crore,” she added.
Route cash benefits through state govt: Trinamool Congress
Mamata’s party the Trinamool Congress also accused the Modi government of trying to mislead the farmers of West Bengal.
“BJP is repeatedly saying the farmers of West Bengal are being deprived of cash under this scheme. That is not true. chief minister Mamata Banerjee had asked the Centre to route the cash benefits through the state government and not directly to the farmers. The intention of the Modi government is to reap political benefits,” TMC MP Sougata Roy said.
The West Bengal government, under its ‘Krishak Bandhu’ scheme, has disbursed Rs 2,642 crore to farmers of the state and budgetary allocation to the farming sector increased five times, Roy said.
No cash to Bengal government due to TMC’s ‘cut money’ culture: BJP
The BJP said that money is not being sent by the Centre to the West Bengal government for disbursement among farmers due to the ‘cut money’ culture of the ruling Trinamool Congress.
State BJP president Dilip Ghosh told reporters here that TMC is seeking the cash that is being disbursed by the Centre to the farmers be sent to the state government for subsequent disbursements.
“We have seen how money given by Narendra Modi to the West Bengal government to combat the disaster wrought by Cyclone Amphan have been squandered as it had swelled bank accounts of Trinamool Congress leaders,” he alleged.
“This is why money will not be sent to the state government but directly transferred to the accounts of the farmers,” Ghosh added.
Governor attacks Mamata government
Meanwhile, West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar also attacked the Mamata government over the issue.
“It’s a matter of concern for me that farmers of West Bengal could not benefit from Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. As Governor, I’ve repeatedly approached the chief minister regarding this issue but none of my letters were answered,” he said.
BJP leaders interact with farming community
To make the most of today’s exercise, BJP leaders interacted with the farming community at more than 19,000 venues across the country and also listened to the Prime Minister’s address.
Under the PM-KISAN scheme, a financial benefit of Rs 6,000 per year is provided to small and marginal farmers, payable in three equal instalments of Rs 2,000 each. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.