West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of trying to mislead the people with half-truth and distorted facts over the non-implementation of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme in the state.
She claimed that the prime minister showed his apparent concern for the farmers through a televised address, instead of proactively working to resolve their issues.
Also read | PM Narendra Modi lashes out at Mamata Banerjee over centre’s scheme for farmers
“While he (PM Modi) publicly claimed his intention to help farmers of WB (West Bengal) through his PM Kisan Yojana and alleges non-cooperation of the state government, the fact is that he is trying to mislead the people with half-truth and distorted facts,” Banerjee said in a statement.
The prime minister lashed out at the West Bengal chief minister, accusing her government of “destroying” the state and depriving its over 70 lakh farmers of benefits from the Centre’s flagship PM-KISAN scheme under which Rs 6,000 per year is given to each farmer.
Banerjee said that her government has always been ready to cooperate in the interest of the farmers.
Maintaining that she has written two letters to Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and has even spoken to him two days ago, the chief minister said, “they are refusing to cooperate and are instead indulging in malicious propaganda for political gains”.
Banerjee said that when the state is implementing so many schemes with the central government, the question of not cooperating on a scheme that is benefitting farmers seems absurd.
She wrote to Tomar on Monday, reiterating the state’s request to route the PM-KISAN funds through the West Bengal government for disbursal among the farmers.
She had earlier written to the agriculture minister in September with the same proposal.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (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.
“Today I regret that more than 70 lakh farmers in 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 addressing a virtual event after releasing over Rs 18,000 crore to more than nine crore farmer families under PM-KISAN.
Denying the accusations of the prime minister, Banerjee alleged that the BJP-led Union government is used to indulging in politicking even at the cost of violating the established practices and norms regarding the implementation of central schemes by state governments.
Claiming that the Modi government has done nothing to help West Bengal, she said that the Centre is “yet to release even a portion of the Rs 85,000 crores of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of Rs 8,000 crores”.
The chief minister said that if Modi genuinely wants to help West Bengal, he must release at least a part of these funds so that the state is in a better position to address its needs.
Assembly elections are likely in West Bengal in April-May next year and the BJP has launched a massive campaign to unseat the Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress government in the state.
Stating that lakhs of farmers are protesting on the roads demanding the withdrawal of the new farm laws, Banerjee claimed that these enactments are anti-farmer as these “threaten to dilute the MSP, the state procurement system, and take away the basic protective mechanisms of the farmers, hence leaving them at the mercy of big private players”.
Banerjee claimed that in the interest of the people of Bengal, her government will do everything that is needed on its part.
“Even if it means supporting schemes of central government that are purely meant to further their political agenda, are at odds with the spirit of federalism, and are definitely not guided by their desire to help the people at large; so long it ensures even incremental benefit for the people of Bengal,” the chief minister said in her statement.
In his address, the prime minister said, “Mamata Banerjee’s ideology has destroyed the state and her actions are against the farmers.”
Banerjee asserted that her ideology is consistent with the vision of the founding fathers of the country, and that she has wholeheartedly served the people of West Bengal with the right intent, efforts and with everything she has.
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