Poor quality seeds ignite assembly

Bhubaneswar: The assembly today witnessed raucus as opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party members during the question hour demanded clarification from the treasury bench over the supply of poor quality of black-gram seeds to the farmers in the state. The opposition demanded that the government should disclose the names of the persons involved in the supply of inferior quality of seeds.

Though the agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy told the house that the complete report on the irregularities would be table in the house in the next session of the assembly after a thorough probe, the dissatisfied Congress members staged walk out in protest.

As the zero hour began today, the speaker asked a member to put his question on supply of seeds to the farmers. The MLA wanted to know what kind and quality of seeds have been supplied by the agriculture department. Former agriculture minister Dr Damodar Rout participating in the debate told the house that he had as the minister then asked the agriculture secretary and the chairman of the Seeds Corporation to withheld payment of the party which had supplied poor quality of black-gram seeds in collaboration with Nafed.

However, the former minister Damodar Rout expressed his anguish that the Seeds Corporation paid Rs 1 crore and 38 lacs to the concerned supplier through the Nafed in the second phase only one day after his resignation as the agriculture minister.

Damodar Rout`s revelations were proper canon fodder for the entire opposition bench to create noisy scenes in the house. The entire opposition trooped into the well of the house and demanded action against officials involved in the irregularities. Said leader of opposition, Bhupinder Singh,"We demanded action against the officials responsible for the irregularities and compensations to the farmers. But the government gave no assurances."

The successor of Damodar Rout as agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy trying to pacify the opposition assured that the irregularities have come to his notice and he would take action against the concerned officials after proper inquiry.The speaker had to stall the proceedings till three O` clock amid noisy slogans by opposition members.

But as soon as the house assembled after three O` clock, the opposition again went on its feet and started giving slogans against the government. The Congress members staged  a walk out protesting inaction against the government officials involved in the irregularities.