Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma distributed Rs 5,000 to more than 53,000 farmers of the state under the Focus+ scheme of the state government. FOCUS+ is a scheme devised by the Meghalaya government where farmers who are part of a group of producers will get Rs 5000 each.
On Monday, farmers – young and old – converged at the runway of the Baljek airport, 30 km north of Tura town in West Garo Hills district, to receive Rs 5,000 cash in their bank account. In a single press of a button by the chief minister, the farmers received a message on their phone.
"Congratulations your FOCUS+ benefit has been transferred to your bank account. Welfare of farmers has been a priority of our government… Conrad K Sangma, Chief Minister, Meghalaya," the message read.
"The government targeted to reach out to 4.5 lakh farmers this year. We have successfully transferred to more than 53,000 beneficiaries. We will transfer this amount every year (if voted again)," Sangma told the gathering.
"Strengthening the livelihoods of farmers has been core mission of our government. Through FOCUS, our state’s biggest farmers farmers’ welfare scheme and its subset FOCUS+, each farming household in Meghalaya is receiving the financial advantage of Rs10,000. We are happy that our mission for our farmers is reaching the impact we envisioned," Sangma said.
The Chief Minister also announced setting up of a Rs 32 crore integrated health complex at Jengjal town which he said will benefit people from across the length and breadth of Garo Hills region. He also announced the setting up of the Jengjal Sub-Division.
Jengjal is located in the home constituency of the Chief Minister's brother – James PK Sangma who is Health and Family Welfare, Taxation, IPR and Forest minister. The Baljek airport was inaugurated by the then President Pratibha Patel in October 2008.
West Garo Hills district Deputy Commissioner S Tembe said that the airport at Jengjal has been non-functional and there was no official of the Airports Authority of India posted there. Since the entire Garo Hills is hilly, the airport at Jengjal town is the only location fit for hosting such a event with a big crowd, he said.
(With PTI inputs)