Staff Correspondent

Food and Civil Supplies Department officials draw flak at the review meeting

A bag of fertilizer reportedly sold at Rs. 1,200

‘Action not taken against dealers’

DAVANGERE: Shortage of fertilizer and alleged rampant corruption in Food and Civil Supplies Department figured Karnataka Development Programme review meeting held here on Friday.

Venkatesh, chairman of the Standing Committee (Health and Education), alleged that the fertilizer dealers had created artificial scarcity in Davangere and sold fertilizer in black market.

He said that a bag of fertilizer was sold at Rs, 1,200 while the actual price was Rs. 700. He alleged that the Agriculture Department had failed to keep a check on the shops. Action had not been taken against those who sold fertilizer at a higher price. This gave room to suspicion that some officials were hand-in-glove with the dealers.

Davangere Zilla Panchayat president Ramappa and vice-president Manjappa said the panchayat had received complaints that fertilizer was being sold in black market. Mr. Ramappa asked Joint Director of Agriculture Shivamurthappa to form special squads to inspect the fertilizer shops and its warehouses and initiate legal action against those selling the fertilizer at higher cost.

Mr. Ramappa alleged rampant corruption in Food and Civil Supplies Department and officials in the department demanded Rs. 80,000 to issue a licence for new fair price shops. Deputy Director of Food and Civil Supplies Department tried to defend himself refuting the charges.

Mr. Venkatesh said that amount to install pumpsets to failed borewells had been sanctioned by the SC and ST Development Corporation and he said that huge amount had been sanctioned to non-existent borewells in Channagiri and other places.

Mr. Ramappa said he had instituted an enquiry into the alleged irregularities in SC and ST Development Corporation and according to prima facie evidence, it was established that officers had misappropriated the funds. He asked zilla panchayat chief executive officer Nijalingappa to order a departmental enquiry into the alleged irregularities in the corporation.

Over 20 heads of cattle died of an unknown disease at Belalkere and the Animal Husbandry Department officials had not visited the village so far.

Mr. Ramappa warned the Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry Department that he would not tolerate callousness officials and asked him to visit the village.

He asked the officer of the Watershed Department Mahantesh to pay the cost of saplings to the Forest Department. He said the Watershed Department had planed three lakh saplings in watershed areas.

Deputy Director of Horticulture Parashivamurthy said Rs. 34 lakh had been spent on vermin compost production and 3,000 palm tree saplings were being developed by the department.

Germination of plants had already been completed and the saplings would be ready by January 2009, Mr. Parashivamurthy added.