In poll-bound Meghalaya, ally accuses NPP of misusing cash scheme for farmers

Allantry F. Dkhar. File

Allantry F. Dkhar. File
| Photo Credit: Twitter/@allantryfr_d


A regional ally has accused the Conrad K. Sangma-led National People’s Party (NPP) of misusing cash schemes for farmers in poll-bound Meghalaya.

Allantry F. Dkhar, the vice-president of the United Democratic Party (UDP) on December 21 wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner complaining that some NPP Ministers and legislators misused two flagship schemes for cultivators.

The UDP is the largest regional partner of the NPP in the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, of which the Bharatiya Janata Party is a minor constituent.

The schemes in question are the Farmers’ Collectivisation for Upscaling Production and Marketing System (FOCUS) and FOCUS+, an expanded version of the former. The State government had launched FOCUS in September 2021 to provide fiscal assistance to farmers, who constitute 70% of the Meghalaya’s population.

Mr. Dkhar said the State government started the ₹200 crore welfare programme after farmers struggled to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Farmers are clubbed into producers’ groups for this programme and each member of a group receives ₹5,000. The fund, according to Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, can be used as seed money to help farmers scale up their operations,” he said.

But some Ministers and MLAs belonging to the NPP have been blatantly distributing money under the twin schemes in areas where farming is not possible. “This shows the schemes are being misused for political gains,” Mr. Dkhar said.

The UDP’s working president, Paul Lyngdoh had earlier slammed the NPP for taking credit for all government programmes and policies by ignoring its allies. “It is totally unacceptable that a single constituent of the coalition government is the focal point,” he said.

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