The Integrated Tribal Development Project (ITDP) office has started an inquiry into alleged irregularities and inefficiency in the implementation of the Rs.17-crore first special package being implemented in Attappady following the death of tribal infants.

Project Officer P.V. Radhakrishnan said he received a complaint from the Attappady Vikasana Samithy on Wednesday citing irregularities in the procurement of plantain saplings and vegetables meant for distribution among the tribal population.

Samithy convener M. Sukumaran, in his complaint, said crores of rupees worth items procured had been dumped on the Attappady Cooperative Farming Society premises at Agali. Huge sums were getting wasted this way, he said.

The Horticulture Department had trained 18 tribal farmers to set up vegetable nurseries. They were also allotted Rs.70,000 each to enable supply of seedlings to tribal farmers in Attappady at low costs. But the Agriculture Department withheld the allotment to trained tribal farmers to sabotage the scheme and enable the purchase of seedlings at higher process from outside, Mr. Sukumaran said.

A copy of Agriculture Minister K.P. Mohanan’s statement in the Assembly on June 14 in this regard had also been attached to the complaint.

In reply to another question (number 1484), the Minister had stated that in addition to the Rs.17 crore agriculture package, another Rs.3 crore scheme was also sanctioned to the Vegetable and Fruit Promotion Council Keralam to be implemented through tribal self-help groups in three hamlets, Mr. Sukumaran said.

Agriculture Department officials said the saplings/seedlings had reached ahead of the monsoon and there was only one vehicle available to distribute them in the tribal hamlets of Attappady. More funds were sought to buy two more vehicles, they said.