Former South Tura MLA John Leslee K Sangma

Tura: South Tura UDP candidate John Leslee K Sangma questioned the NPP-led MDA government over allegations posed by BJP’s Union Minister of State John Barla.

During his visit to Meghalaya, Barla stated that the state government’s flagship program–FOCUS–was a nomenclature change to the Centre’s PM – Kisan scheme. He also claimed that Rs 1000 was missing from money meant for the producers.

Leslee sought a public clarification from the CM, Conrad Sangma, over Rs 5,000 given to producers under the aegis of the MBMA (Meghalaya Basin Management Agency) under FOCUS. The funds are being granted to state producers as mobilisation money to each member of producer groups. The program aims to enhance the livelihood of Meghalaya’s farmers through interventions across the value chain.

“However John Barla,  Union Minister of State for Minority affairs in his recent visit to Garo Hills, stated that the money was, in fact, the money sanctioned by the Union Government where the actual amount to be disbursed for each producer was actually Rs 6000,” stated Leslee.

“Barla alleged that the government kept Rs 1000 to buy the votes during elections. This is a very serious allegation if it’s true. If we go by the statement of Conrad that the money earmarked for this flagship initiative is Rs 500 Cr for 4.5 lakh producers, then the money that will go missing is whooping Rs 45 crores. If it is true, then the producers of Meghalaya had been swindled by the NPP-led government,” stated Leslee.

However, he stated that despite the enormity of the allegation, neither the NPP issued a statement has made an attempt to initiate an inquiry into the matter.

“We are not sure who is at fault at this time. Whether the CM has lied about FOCUS or the MoS is falsely implicating the CM must be clarified by the CM. In such serious cases, defamation cases are filed, but there is silence from the CM’s camp like in the case of TMC spokesperson Saket Gokhale.

He added that only a statement from the Chief Minister or details of the central fund by the MoS, John Barla, could bring out the truth.

When contacted on the issue, Leslee said over the phone that it was strange that there were allegations of such nature and silence from the NPP camp. “If the MoS is aware of such anomalies, the BJP should initiate an inquiry into the scandal. Further, if the CM is innocent, there has to be something concrete that he provides that ridicules these allegations,” stated Leslee.

Also Read | Mamata to visit poll-bound Meghalaya on Jan 18

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