Organic Farming Mission funds misused, Opposition allege

ZP Opposition seeks Lokayukta probe into improper distribution of Rs 24 lakh

ZP CEO Shivashankar, ZP President Santhosh Kumar Bhandary and Vice President Jagannath Salian at the Zilla Panchayat meeting in Mangalore on Monday. DH photo

In response to the demand, the ZP Chief Executive Officer assured the members of submitting a report to the government after getting clarifications from the department.
The Opposition alleged that the benefits of the scheme with Rs 24 lakh funds have been shared among the ruling party workers.

Raising the issue in the zero hour of the ZP’s 19th general meeting held here on Monday, former president and Congress member Mamatha Gatti sought details from the Joint Director of Agriculture regarding the beneficiaries of the Organic Farming Mission and the amount distributed to them.

Agriculture Department Joint Director Padmaiah Naik said he could present those details only in the next meeting since he did not have the taluk-wise statistics. This enraged the members of the Opposition.

Congress member Shavul Hamid said the committees formed to identify the beneficiaries are filled with the workers of a particular political party, while the beneficiaries selected by them are also the members of the same party. Some other members too supported this view and sought a Lokayukta probe.

Intervening the discussions, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer P Shivashankar asked the Agriculture Department Joint Director to submit him a report in this connection within a week.

“The Zilla Panchayat can not hand over the case to Lokayukta on its own. It is left to the government. We can only send a report to the government in this regard,”  Shivashankar clarified.

Joint survey

Member F Ummar Farooq said though there has been a demand to conduct a joint survey of the land to be submerged due to the new vented dam at Thumbe (with the presence of ZP members, local elected representatives and officials), there has been no action till date.

Reacting to this, CEO Shivashankar said the the DC has not yet received any intimation over land acquisition since Mangalore City Corporation has yet to deposit the required amount with the Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board.
The members reiterated that land acquisition should not be done unless the joint survey is conducted.

Member Sundar Gowda Ichchila expressed his disappointment over not including the district in the first phase of Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Programme. The CEO said the Rural Electrification Corporation has informed that only Shimoga and Chikmagalur districts will be considered in the first phase and the rest will be taken up in the consecutive phases. He said he would bring the issue to the government’s attention.

DH News Service

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