BHUBANESWAR: Even as farmers of the State are constrained to sell their produce to private traders much below the estimated cost of production, the State Government has failed to create infrastructure in the existing market yards despite availability of funds.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pulled up the State Government for its inefficiency to utilise financial assistance made available from time to time by the Centre under different schemes.
The State Government received Rs 15.47 crore of Rs 36.32 crore sanctioned under Rastriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY) during 2010-15 for construction and development of 18 market yards. The Centre did not release further assistance in 2012-13 due to non-submission of project proposals by Odisha State Agriculture Marketing Board (OSAMB), the audit report said.
While the State Government has been blaming the Centre for neglecting the State, the CAG has further exposed the administrative inertia so far as fund utilisation is concerned.
The State received Rs 45 crore under the 13th Finance Commission (during 2011-15) for creation of infrastructure in 153 market yards. However, the State could utilise Rs 22.39 crore and submitted utilisation certificates (UCs) for Rs 22.45 crore.
However, due to delay in submission of UCs for Rs 15 crore in 2011-12, the Centre did not release Rs 15 crore due for 2012-13 to OSAMB till July, 2015.
Similarly, Rs 9.92 crore was released under State plan for infrastructure development of nine market yards and supply of mobile phones to farmers in 2010-11. But the Board could utilise only Rs 4.86 crore.
“It was seen that for projects under wholesale and retail market under Jatni Regulated Market Committee (RMC), funds of Rs 91 lakh sanctioned in 2010-11 were kept idle till 2014-15 as the work could not be taken up due to delay in land acquisition,” the CAG report on Economic Sector for year ended March 2015 stated.
Lack of planning hindered fund utilisation leading to non-creation of infrastructure in market yards. As funds sanctioned under TFC, RKVY and State Plan remained unutilised, farmers were deprived of benefits of the scheme, the report said.
The report further pointed out that some of the Krushak Bazars set up under Chief Minister’s 12-point programme to facilitate direct marketing by farmers could not function due to locational disadvantages. Funds utilised for the marketing facility were rendered unfruitful.
Though the State Government had targeted to set up 200 Krushak Bazars in 2000, only 43 Bazars could materialise in the last 15 years.