Members of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat at a meeting on Monday alleged that the organisations hitherto unheard of had been asked to implement the programmes of the State Government’s Organic Farming Mission in the district.

They said that the beneficiaries identified in many areas were supporters of a particular political, making a veiled reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Mamtha D.S. Gatti, member, said that the new project was being implemented keeping the Zilla Panchayat (ZP) or its members in the dark. Some beneficiaries had been given cheques worth Rs. 20,000 under the scheme in Bantwal taluk, recently, she said.

K.K. Shahul Hamid, member, said that only the members of one political party were availing the benefits of the Mission, which was aimed at promoting organic farming. He sought a probe by Lokayukta.

When a top officer from the Department of Agriculture gave the names of the non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which had been chosen to implement the project in different taluks of the district, a few members said that those organisations were “unheard of”. Former president of the ZP Venkat Dambekodi wondered if any eligibility criterion was being followed for selecting the NGOs. The official said that only seven organisations had responded to an advertisement in this regard. Of them, five had been chosen for implementing the scheme. Each taluk had been allocated Rs. 24.5 lakh to meet the expenses incurred on implementing the scheme, including administrative expenditure of Rs. 1.5 lakh. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ZP P. Shivashankar said that the scheme was being implemented by the Mission through the Department of Agriculture. He said that a list of beneficiaries of the Mission would be prepared within a week and forwarded to members. They could verify it and forward their comments to the State Government through a resolution in the next meeting, he said. The members agreed to this arrangement.

Mr. Shivashankar told the members that the farmers who would be losing their lands for the construction of the new vented dam at Thumbe across the Netravati would be compensated before its implementation began. The agency implementing the project – Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board – had been asked to submit the estimate following which a survey would be undertaken to identify the lands for acquisition. The acquisition process and disbursement of compensation would be taken up later, he said.

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