ZP members demand Lokayukta probe

Misappropriation alleged in purchase of Nagpur orange saplings



Addressing a press conference on Saturday, ZP members V P Shashidhar and Deerghakeshi Shivanna said the ZP President should give clarification on when the proposal of purchasing saplings was discussed in the ZP and when it was approved.
A lot of misappropriations have taken place in the process. The entire episode should be investigated by Lokayukta, they urged.

“The idea of purchasing Nagpur orange saplings itself is suspicious when quality saplings are available in the district itself. Kodagu orange is world famous; on the other, Nagpur species does not suit to the district’s climate,” they said.

“The ZP President V M Vijaya has taken some select members to orange plantations and tried to convince them that the Nagpur orange suits to Kodagu. What is the point in justifying the Horticulture Department officials and the act of purchasing Nagpur saplings?” they questioned.

“The officials of the Horticulture Research Institute themselves have clarified that Nagpur orange does not suit the climate of Kodagu. Though proposal had been submitted seeking detailed discussion on the issue during the general meeting to be held on October 14, the question has been dropped. Opportunity should be given to discuss the issue in the meeting,” Shashidhar said.

“The BJP leaders are particular about protecting the Kodagu culture, and now why are they going to destroy the district’s own orange species?” he asked.

“It had been estimated that the grafted Kodagu orange saplings at Chettalli Horticulture research centre would cost Rs 25 each. In the meantime, it had been estimated that the Nagpur saplings with basket would cost Rs 30 each. But the farmers have been distributed saplings without baskets. The ZP chief should make it clear how the purchase of saplings was approved without discussing the issue at the Agriculture Standing Committee and the general meeting,” he urged.

“A sum of Rs 15 lakh is being spent every year for the maintenance of Horticulture nurseries. Instead of purchasing saplings from Nagpur, they could have been grown in our own nurseries,” he observed.

A torch light procession will be taken out by the District Congress women’s unit at Kushalnagar demanding reforms in the hostels and probe into the misappropriation of funds in the purchase of orange saplings.

DCC spokesperson B S Thammaiah was present at the press conference.

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