House panel detects loopholes in distribution

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Old 12-Apr-2011
House panel detects loopholes in distribution

Bathinda April 12:

A two-member committee of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha detected loopholes in the distribution of wheat seed subsidy for the current crop and wanted the Agriculture Department and other authorities to streamline the system.

The committee, headed by Virsa Singh Valtoha, an SAD member, with Sunil Jakhar of the Congress as its member, reached here and started investigating the “scam”, which was highlighted by the latter in the Vidhan Sabha during the recent session.

The subsidy amounting to Rs 27 crore was released to farmers in the state for purchasing 5.42 lakh quintals of wheat seed for the current crop. A subsidy of Rs 500 was paid for each quintal of seed. The committee examined the record and questioned top officers of the agriculture and other departments connected with the distribution of subsidised seed. Financial Commissioner NS Kang did not appear before the committee and had expressed his inability to come here.

Valtoha said the panel was not satisfied with the procedure adopted by the department and it would be examined whether the seed reached the genuine beneficiaries. The scam had come to light when the subsidised wheat seed was seized from a flour mill. He said there was a need to rectify the system and it was also being examined whether the seed was issued to farmers in time or not.

Jakhar said that the committee would suggest to the government measures to streamline the distribution of subsidised seed and prevent it from going in the hands of unscrupulous elements. During spot investigations, the committee also met seed traders and beneficiaries.

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