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Money given under Meghalaya farmers schemes not loan: CM Conrad

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Meghalaya CM alleges, the BJP was trying to mislead the beneficiaries by claiming it to be so


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Shillong, Dec 13 (PTI): Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday asserted that the money given to farmers under State Government schemes is not a loan and, he alleged, the BJP was trying to mislead the beneficiaries by claiming it to be so.

The BJP, an ally of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, last week alleged that the Rs 5,000 given to farmers ahead of the assembly election due early next year is actually a loan and the beneficiaries will have to repay it to banks.

The money given is not a loan but an annual grant for 4.5 lakh farmers if they register themselves in farmers’ groups, Sangma told PTI on the sideline of a programme here.

He said that 25,000 such groups have been registered till date.

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“It is completely wrong to mislead farmers and drag the scheme for its (BJP’s) political gains. About Rs 450 crore was allocated for these (FOCUS and FOCUS+) schemes and not Rs 1500 crore as alleged,” Sangma said.

The chief minister said that Rs 5,000 is distributed to a group of farmers and individual farmers under the FOCUS and FOCUS+ schemes respectively.

Altogether 4.5 lakh families will be benefitted from the schemes, said Sangma who is also the president of the ruling National People’s Party (NPP).

The scheme is making a huge impact at the grass-root level improving the livelihood of the marginalised farmers, the CM said.

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According to him, the Government has got money from various sources – State and Central taxes, budget provisions, externally aided projects and others – to fund the farmers’ schemes.

State BJP chief Ernest Mawrie on December 9 claimed that the NPP-led Government availed a loan of Rs 1,500 crore from foreign investors for the schemes to woo voters ahead of the elections.

The saffron party’s accusations came three days after Sangma distributed Rs 5,000 each to more than 53,000 farmers of the State.

“Making such allegations is wrong… Farmers need to be helped,” Sangma said.

The scheme was conceptualised in 2021, he said.

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