Inquiry initiated after Sangli farmers with no land get loan waiver benefits

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In what may cast a shadow on the implementation of the State’s Mahatma Jyotirao Phule crop loan waiver scheme, instances of farmers not having any land, but benefiting under the scheme, have surfaced in Sangli. This is the first time irregularities have been observed in the scheme.

Sangli Collector Abhijit Chowdhury on Tuesday issued time-bound orders to review the entire crop loan waiver process in the district to check the scale of irregularities. This will include rechecking names and farm land of 86,547 farmers, who have registered themselves as possible beneficiaries of the crop loan waiver scheme.

Sangli district authorities have till now distributed ₹422.32 crore under this scheme to 71,424 farmers.

The orders issued by Mr. Chowdhury said, “It has been observed that despite having no farm land, certain farmers’ name was used to create fake 7/12 documents (land documents) and a crop loan was wrongly availed. This loan was also wrongly waived off in the ongoing scheme. The possibility of such instances cannot be denied at different places. Therefore, it is important to amass the information regarding the farmers who have no farm land of their own or land less than 10 guntha.” Mr. Chowdhury has sought a report by June 26.

Fake documents

The incident came to light in Gotkhindi village of Walva tehsil, where farmers had approached the local authorities after money from the crop loan waiver scheme had been deposited in their names, even though they possessed no land of their own. According to sources within the district administration, the local credit society office-bearers may have created the forged documents to avail the benefits under the scheme.

‘Practices rampant’

Maharashtra Navnirnman Sena leader Kirtikumar Shinde, who exposed the discrepancy, said, “This is not limited to Sangli district. Such practices are rampant in every part of the State. The government must take the lead and start reviewing the entire crop loan waiver scheme and its beneficiaries. Those involved in misappropriation of funds must be punished,” he said.

Mr. Shinde further said that his party has started issuing demand letters in other districts also such as Solapur, Latur, Beed, Aurangabad and Raigad, to review the scheme.

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