Rs 22 lakh-embezzlement in cashew plantation surfaces in Nabarangpur

Nabarangpur: Charges of embezzlement of Rs 22 lakh in cashew plantation in two blocks of Nabarangpur district have been brought against the officials of the Horticulture department. Though the department claimed that money was sanctioned for farmers of Patraputa village of Tentulikhunta block and Photakota and Urdi villages of Nabarangpur block to plant cashew saplings, the farmers alleged that not a single penny has been provided to them.

In 2017-18, the department had asked 20 farmers of Patraputa village to plant cashew saplings in 20 hectare land with an assurance that all financial support will be provided to them under the MGNREGA scheme. As per reports, the department sanctioned Rs 10,77,985 on account of labour charges, pesticides, manure and other heads. However, as per allegations, neither the farmers have received any money nor the Horticulture officials have visited them.

“The Horticulture officials asked us to plant cashew and told us that we will get money for three years. But nothing has been provided and now the saplings are dying,” said Keshab Amanatya, a farmer from Patraputa.

Expressing similar views, Harish Chandra Amanatya, another farmer from the same village said, “We invested on labour to plant the saplings, but no financial help has been provided to us. As the officials have not visited us, we are in a dilemma now.”

Similar allegations have been reported from Photakota and Urdi village where the department has reportedly spent Rs 11,09,016 for cashew saplings. Though the department has provided saplings, no further assistance has been extended to the farmers.

“I invested on labour and manure. Despite repeated requests nothing has been given to us. We visited the banks and provided all necessary documents to the department, but I am still unable to get the financial assistance,” said Krushna Chandra Nayak, a farmer from Badakumuli.

Deputy director of Horticulture department in Nabarangpur, Basudeb Sahu said action will be taken against those who found guilty after inquiry.

“As I have joined recently, I have not got time to visit the plantation sites. I will launch an inquiry into the allegations and after that disciplinary action will be taken against those who will be found guilty,” added Sahu.