Violation of rules deprives farmers of loan, assistance: CAG

Bhubaneswar: The report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report on the performance of the Odisha government in the financial sector for the year 2015 which was tabled in the State Assembly on Monday, has found gross violation of rules in the disbursal of agriculture loans and assistance to drought-hit farmers of the state.

In its report, the CAG has said the drought-hit farmers were deprived of agriculture loan due to gross violation of rules of the state government by the State Cooperative Banks. Besides, the farmers were also deprived of drought assistance as the district collectors did not submit relevant documents in time after the drought.

The report also said while the farmers could not apply for crop insurance loan due to delayed notification by the state government on the implementation of crop insurance scheme, the Centre refused to provide crop insurance money as the state government failed to ensure experimental crop cutting in the specified time frame.

Apart from this, the CAG report has also found irregularities in the work of two projects of the Water Resources department. As per the report, the state government has paid an extra Rs 2.14 crore to the contractors out of compassion.

The report has further said the state government had not ensured adequate assistance for infrastructure development of two universities and seven colleges while the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) did give approval for introduction of new courses due to lack of adequate infrastructure.

In his reaction, BJD spokesperson Amar Prasad Satpathy said this is only a report of the CAG which the Opposition should not assume it as entirely true. “This is an audit report which will be scrutinised by the State Assembly Committee after which the veracity of the report can be assessed,” he pointed out.

BJP MLA Rabi Nayak said the CAG has found gross irregularities in the Works and Water Resources departments. Besides, the report has also blamed the inaction of the Agriculture department which has deprived the farmers of the agriculture loan and drought assistance.

On the other hand, Congress MLA Prafulla Majhi said the chief minister should have reviewed the performance of the Water Resources department since he holds this portfolio. “As he has not made a thorough review, gross irregularities have come to the notice of the CAG. “We will raise these issues in the House in its current session,” he added.