Govt finds oranges too sour

Notice to State on funds misappropriation for reviving Coorg Mandarin variety
Last Updated 24 July 2010, 17:47 IST

Hearing a petition by Cauvery Sene, Coorg Orange Growers’ Society and Samajika Hitarakshana Samithi, the Division Bench comprising Justice N K Patil and Justice A S Bopanna has ordered notice to State Government, Director, Horticulture and others.

Responsible for failure
The petitioners had moved the High Court seeking action against the officials responsible for the failure of the Horticulture Department’s programme to revive the glory of Coorg Mandarin oranges under NHM, which have been granted geographical indication in 2005. The State was given Rs 47 lakh to distribute over three lakh saplings and set up three exclusive nurseries at a cost of Rs nine lakh to grow the orange variety.

Nagpur Mandarin variety
The programme was undermined when the then Deputy Director, Horticulture Shakeel Ahmed started distributing Nagpur Mandarin oranges, claiming that the Coorg variety existed no longer.

When the Department started distributing bare-rooted saplings, growers termed it as unscientific and began protests. The Department instituted an inquiry into the episode, and the probe team headed by senior officer S V Hittalmani reported some irregularities and recommended action against officials responsible. However when no action was initiated, the petitioners moved the High Court.

Anu Chengappa, counsel for the petitioners also sought to recover the entire Rs 47 lakh rupees from the Department and form a committee involving NGOs, scientists, representatives of farmers, Indian Institute of Horticulture Research (IIHR) and State Agriculture Universities to implement NHM according to the Central guidelines.
DH News Service

(Published 24 July 2010, 17:46 IST)

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