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Congress wants probe by House committee

‘A section of Agriculture officers gave farmers bum steer in procurement of tractors’

By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Feb 9: Assam Legislative Assembly (ALA) Leader Debabrata Saikia sniffs that a section of bureaucrats in the State Agriculture Department gave State farmers a bum steer in the procurement of tractors under the Mukhyamantri Samagra Gramin Vikash Yojana (MSGVY). He has raised the demand for a House committee to inquire into to the anomaly amounting to crores of rupees.
Talking to the media outside the Assembly on Friday, Saikia said: “We have serious doubts that there are massive anomalies in the procurement process of tractors for distribution among farmers in the State with bureaucratic and political patronage. Even a company that has been declared corporate insolvent has also been empanelled among the companies listed for supplying tractors to the famers’ self-help groups (SHGs). There are allegations that a section of bureaucrats of the State Agriculture Department was seen giving farmers a bum steer to procure tractors from a few particular companies on the pretexts that the tractors of those companies were of superior quality. This practice on the part of the section of bureaucrats is set to benefit a few companies.”
Saikia said: “Earlier it was made known that the famers would have the liberty to choose tractors on their own. However, it wasn’t followed in toto latter. While some tractors are set to be procured at the choice of farmers, most of the tractors are likely to be procured from the lot shown at tractor melas held in different parts of the State. In the process, each of the tractors, as per the bids, is set to be procured at over Rs 1 lakh more than its actual price in the market. The Centre has an e-marketing portal. If the tractors are procured at the rates given at the portal, at least Rs 1-1.50 lakh can be saved per piece of tractor. We’re going to raise this issue on the floor of the House demanding the formation of a House committee to inquire into the anomaly.”
Raising the issue of insolvent company – Preet Pvt Ltd – Saikia said: “An officer of the State Agriculture Department has a resort in Himachal Pradesh. You (media persons) can get it cross-checked if the owner of Preet Pvt Ltd and the Agriculture officer hail from the same area or not.” Recently, 10,000 tractors were launched among the farmers of the State at a function by the Chief Minister himself under the criterion – one village-SHG group-one tractor. There are 26,000 revenue villages in the State, and in accordance with the scheme each and every revenue village has to get a tractor under 70 per cent government subsidy.