Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi on Monday sought the intervention of Union minister Piyush Goyal to bring out the facts regarding Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's wife receiving government subsidy for a project.
A huge controversy has erupted after Guwahati-based digital media 'The Crosscurrent' published a report alleging that over 50 bigha (nearly 17 acres) of agricultural land at Darigaji village in Kaliabor in Nagaon district was reclassified as industrial land within a month after it was bought by a firm owned by Pride East Entertainments, where Sarma's wife Riniki Bhuyan Sarma is the chairman and managing director.
"It has come to notice that the ministry of food processing under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) and Scheme for Creation of Infrastructure for Agro Clusters has allocated Rs 10 crore to M/S Pride East Entertainment, the promoter of which is Riniki Bhuyan Sharma," Gogoi, the deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, told Goyal in the letter.
The Assam MP pointed out that on March 22, 2023, Goyal, the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, in reply to questions in the Lok Sabha on the government's initiative to invest in Assam, provided a list of food processing projects supported under the component of PMKSY as on January 31, 2022.
"At serial No. 7 of the list, the name of M/S Pride East Entertainment Pvt Ltd has been mentioned. Pertinently, the amount of approved grant-in-aid is mentioned as Rs 10 crore. The list of beneficiaries can also be found on the website of the ministry of food processing industries," he added.
It is apparent from the reply in Lok Sabha and the list of beneficiaries on the website of the ministry of food processing industries that Rs 10 crore has been approved in the name of Pride East Entertainment Pvt Ltd, Gogoi said.
"However, the Hon'ble Chief Minister of Assam, whose family members own and control the said entity, has denied receiving or claiming any amount from the Government of India. Therefore, for the interest of public transparency, I humbly request your kind intervention in the matter so that the real facts come out in the open," he urged Goyal through the letter.
Gogoi also said that in his opinion, established media channels that want to venture into a new business should seek credit from the finance sector.
"Government grants must be given to the genuine and needy beneficiaries who have displayed the expertise to utilise tax-payers money in a proper manner," the Congress politician said.
The PM Kisan Sampada Yojana is a comprehensive package which aims to create modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.