Bhubaneswar, Nov 29 (LocalWire): In a classic case of non-utilization of government funds, Rs 80 crore budgetary provisions earmarked for agrarian development projects remained idle for two years.
The state government had made budgetary provisions of Rs 40 crore each for 2016-17 and 2017-18 financial years to ensure availability of adequate quantity of cashew, quality seeds and other required material to the farmers and to increase seed replacement rate of various agricultural crops.
The budgetary allocations were extended as interest-free short-term loans to Odisha Cashew Development Corporation Limited and Odisha Agro Industries Limited.
While OAIL doled out Rs 60 crores, Cashew Corporation received Rs 20 crore funds for providing quality cashew seeds to farmers.
However, the funds could not be used for the purpose for which it was sanctioned.
Ironically, both the corporations had stopped seeds business in the very year funds were allocated to them.
‘As both the Corporations stopped seed business from 2016-17, there was no need to provide for these schemes during 2017-18.
Even after one year after the corporations had stopped the seeds business, the department of Agriculture yet again made budget provisions,’ observed an inquiry report.
The Director of Agriculture state seed requirement of farmers was met from Chief Minister’s special package.
This raises serious doubt on the budget mechanism being followed by the department without ensuring its proper utilization.
As a result, the entire fund of Rs 80 crore remained unutilized and subsequently surrendered, the report added.
Officials of directorate of agriculture declining to be quoted admitted the discrepancies.