Upalokayukta unearths Rs 22-cr fodder scam in Tumakuru goshalas

The state seems to be staring at a big fodder scam. The Upalokayukta enquiry report, conducted with respect to  goshalas (cattle-sheds) in Tumakuru district, reveals misappropriation of Rs 22 crore in less than a year.

The Upalokayukta has issued notices to 127 officials of the rank of assistant commissioners and below in the district for initiation of action in this regard.

The state government had released funds to district administrations for constructing goshalas, purchase and distribution of fodder in December-February 2016-17. In view of the severe drought across 139 taluks, the government had directed district administrations to ensure availability of fodder to cattle.

On a tip-off that large scale irregularities had taken place at goshalas in distribution of fodder, Upalokayukta Justice Subhash B Adi made surprise visits to goshalas in March-April 2017. It was found that the ledger book detailing receipts and distribution of fodder was mishandled and that there was mismatch of stocks mentioned in the books and fodder available in goshalas. The Upalokayukta had visited Ranganahalli (Gubbi taluk), Ullasathopu, C B Agrahara, Ranganathapura, Bhoothappanagudi, J Hosahalli (Sira taluk), Tovinakere (Koratagere taluk), Gadabanahalli Thopu, Ayyanabavi, Baguvala (Tiptur taluk), T B Cross, Aremallanahalli (Turuvekere taluk) Y N Hosakote, Nagalamadike, Venkatapura (Pavagad taluk) and Godekere, Vajra, Karehalli, Hulikal, Durgammanna Betta (Chikkanayakanahalli taluk).

The enquiry report submitted by Lokayukta officials stated that the district administration officials misappropriated funds and also left the goshalas in a pitiable state.

“Misappropriation of Rs 33.96 lakh released to goshalas in seven taluks has been found. Similarly, a total of Rs 21.98 crore towards the purchase of fodder has been misappropriated,” the report said.
Apart from the misappropriation, the enquiry revealed that the district administration had not followed the guidelines issued periodically by the state government. The enquiry report stated that almost all the goshalas were unhygienic and did not use scientific weighing scales. “At some goshalas, the fodder was distributed without weighing. The officials had not provided proper lighting and toilet facilities to farmers staying with cattle at night despite a government circular in this regard.”

Justice Adi confirmed issuance of notices. “I had visited goshalas only in Tumakuru district. The report suggested misappropriation of funds and notices have been issued to record the comments of officials,” he said.

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