CAG report reveals irregularities in paddy procurement in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the General and Social sector for the year ended 2014-15 revealed irregularities in various departments of the State government.

Noting that a robust system for paddy procurement was absent in Odisha, the CAG today said Paddy Procurement Centres (PPC) were not functioning properly due to delay in their opening and in the absence of godown facilities.

Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) procured paddy valued at Rs 25,509 crore during 2010-15, but subsidy of Rs 581.68 crore for the period was not released by the Centre due to delay in finalisation of accounts, said the CAG report.

It said PPCs were not functioning properly as delay/ non-opening of such centres, absence of godown facilities, non-calibration of weighing machines and non-intimation of actual dates of procurement to farmers were noticed.

Against marketable surplus of 8,512.44 quintals, 17,981.51 quintals–9,469.07 quintal excess–paddy was procured from 25 farmers and 1,914.19 quintal procured from 19 farmers who had no agricultural land, it said.

Similarly, paddy was also procured without verifying farmers’ identity, without issuing vendors receipts, while payments to farmers were either delayed or not paid, it said.

In seven test checked districts, MSP of Rs 22.61 crore was paid to 2,635 farmers for procurement of 18,001.96 MT of paddy with a delay ranging from 2 to 188 days, the CAG said.

“Thus, a robust system to manage the procurement operation of paddy under MSP scheme was not established and the same was not commensurate to the magnitude of the procurement involved (Rs 25,509 crore) for 1010-15,” it said.

Instead of conducting required quality analysis, arbitrary deduction of 2 to 4 kg was made from the quantity offered for sale by farmers. As a result, an estimated 2.51 MT paddy worth Rs 305.17 crore might have been unduly passed on to the millers during 2010-15, the CAG report said.

Cover and Plinth (CAP) covers valuing Rs 1.24 crore purchased in December 2014 for creating CAP facilities to store procured paddy during the intervening period of delivery to millers was not utilised, the report said.

In all 211 millers were selected during 2010-15 Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) without verifying required documents like certificates from State Pollution Control Board, Encumbrance Certificate, DIC registration certificate. Against eligible limit of 5.75 lakh MT of paddy, 170 millers were permitted to take delivery of 9.48 lakh MT of paddy, resulting in excess delivery of 3.73 lakh MT, it said.

In 26 cases of four test checked districts, societies were tagged to distant mills by 12 to 185 kms despite existence of nearby societies leading to excess payment of Rs 61.14 lakh towards transportation charges, CAG report said.

In two test checked districts, there was excess payment towards custody and maintenance charges amounting to Rs 42.90 lakh. During 1010-14 KMS, there was short delivery of 0.72 lakh MT of Custom Milled Rice (CMR) by millers, it said adding there was also misappropriation of 11.243 MT of paddy valuing Rs 40.78 crore by 20 millers in test checked districts.

Monitoring and supervision was not adequate leading to excess lifting of paddy by custom millers, misappropriation/ doubtful procurement of paddy, delay in delivery of CMR by millers. Shortfalls in holding of district level procurement committee meetings and absence of random check of PPCs/Mills were also noticed, the CAG report said.

Moreover, the report pointed out that 321 government quarters are yet to be vacated by MLAs, government officials, journalists and family members of deceased officials. As per data provided in the CAG report by August 2015, Rs 5.9 crore unpaid rent is yet to be collected by the State government. While, 230 quarters have been vacated by former MLAs, Rs Rs 1.12 crore is still due from them in the form of rent.

On the other hand, the State museum is yet to complete registration of 39,451 rare idols, while only palm leaf inscriptions have been registered. Moreover, no photographs have been taken of 8,056 rare idols. While only 4 % of the total idols are being displayed in the gallery, 37,689 idols are lying in stores and 5,792 idols are in ruins.

(With PTI inputs)

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