BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State Government informed the Assembly that irregularities in purchase of onion seeds for 2014-15 rabi season have been handed over to the Vigilance, the Odisha State Seeds Corporation (OSSC) has decided to release the payment to the seed supplier.
The OSSC Board of Directors decided at the December 17 meeting to pay Rs6.88 crore to the West Bengal Hybrid Seeds and Biotech Pvt Ltd on the basis of the order passed by arbitrator Justice AS Naidu, retired judge of the Orissa High Court, official sources said.
The West Bengal firm had supplied 388.8 quintals of onion seeds at Rs1635 per kg at an estimated cost of Rs6.35 crore. However, the payment of the firm was held up following an inquiry by Agriculture Department which found serious irregularities in selection of seed supplier.
The State Seeds Corporation passed a resolution for a Vigilance probe in the board meeting and recommended to State Government for an investigation into the alleged tender fixing by some officials of the Corporation for purchase of onion seeds in June last year.
The West Bengal firm dragged the Corporation to the court of arbitration headed by Justice Naidu and the court passed an order directing the Corporation to pay Rs6.88 crore to the seed supplier including interest for the period beyond the mutually agreed time for such payment.
The Corporation has to pay an additional amount of about Rs53 lakh to the private firm for holding up the payment.
Meanwhile, the State Government has provided subsidy amounting Rs5.23 crore as farmers’ shares have not been realised from several blocks. The Corporation is yet to receive Rs46 lakh from farmers who had purchased the onion seed.
The Corporation has requested the Horticulture Directorate to realise the outstanding amount from farmers for final settlement of seed costs to the supplying agency.