Berhampur (Odisha), Jan 27 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday distributed benefits to farmers under the newly launched Krushak Assistance for Livelihood Income Augmentation (Kalia) scheme in his home district Ganjam.

While around 25,000 eligible farmers in the district will get the first installment of Rs 5,000 under the KALIA scheme, around 14,800 of them are the share-coppers, official sources said.

The cash benefit would be provided to the farmers though the direct transfer of benefit (DTB). The opposition Congress and BJP have raised voice against financial assistance to people ahead of the upcoming elections.

Odisha Assembly elections would be held with the Lok Sabha elections.

Launching the scheme in Ganjam district, Patnaik transferred the benefits to the farmers bank accounts electronically at a farmers convention held near Rangeilunda, near here.

“I hope the farmers will utilize the money in their cultivation during the Rabi crop, he said while addressing an gathering.

The financial benefits will be provided to eligible farmers on Akhaya Trutiya and Nuakhai festivals every year, he said.

As many as 13 farmers, including two women farmers shared dais with the chief minister, while four of them addressed the gathering.

“The crop which I had raised during the Kharif was destroyed during the flood in the aftermath of the cyclone Titli. When I was in a distress condition, the government came to my rescue by providing the financial assistance under Kalia scheme. I am happy when I got a message of Rs 5000 credited in my bank account,” said Gangadhara Nahak, one of the share croppers from Purushottampur block.

This was the second farmers convention in the state after the chief minister rolled out the Kalia scheme at Puri on Friday last. The government was planning to hold such type of farmers convention to distribute the benefits under Kalia scheme in three other places in next one month, said a senior officer.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.