Hyderabad: The first set of Rythu Bandhu cheques worth about Rs 1,600 crore meant for distribution to nearly 16 lakh farmers in 3,300 villages, have arrived in the districts ahead of the launch of the prestigious scheme. Officials will commence distribution of cheques to farmers as per the government directions in the next few days.
The State government has already released Rs 6,000 crore towards the scheme under which 53.56 lakh farmers are to be covered for kharif season with each farmer getting Rs 4,000 per acre under the Rythu Bandhu scheme which is aimed at providing capital investment support to farmers. The dispatch of cheques began on April 12 after their verification at the main headquarters of eight notified banks in Hyderabad under the supervision of the State level monitoring committee.
Sources said Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao wanted the officials to distribute at least one-third of the cheques in each district to ensure smooth distribution following the commencement of the farming season. “Cultivation does not commence at once in all districts across the State. Hence, the Chief Minister wanted us to distribute at least one-third of cheques at one go. Accordingly, cheques worth around Rs 1,600 crore have been readied and disbursed to the districts. We will start distribution as soon as the government announces the dates,” said a top official in the agriculture department.
During verification of cheques, the officials discovered that more than 30,000 cheques were printed with a wrong date which will be replaced in a couple of days. Similarly, cheques were also issued against lands which were under possession of endowments, Wakf and even industrial use. The officials have started taking corrective measures to ensure that such mistakes are not repeated.
“We will open special counters at the branches of eight notified banks where the agriculture officers should ensure all details of beneficiaries are entered correctly before distributing the cheques in gram sabhas. The cheque distribution is likely to start after April 20, against April 19 announced earlier,” the officials said.
According to latest land records after purification, around 62 per cent farmers in Telangana have less than a hectare (2.47 acre) land and hence, majority of the cheques prepared for distribution so far are for amounts less than Rs 10,000 on them. “We have already commenced the exercise of printing the second set of cheques for distribution which will arrive in Hyderabad before commencement of the cheque distribution programme,” the officials said.