Odisha Lokayukta orders recovery of govt funds from horticulture officials

The officials misappropriated the money meant to plant cashew trees. No foolproof measures were taken by the officials to safeguard the plantation from adverse external factors, Pani claimed. 

Published: 01st July 2022 05:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st July 2022 05:56 AM   |  A+A-

Lokayukta

Image used for representational purposes (Photo | EPS)

By Express News Service

KENDRAPARA:  Taking cognisance of embezzlement of government funds under the cashew plantation scheme, the Odisha Lokayukta has ordered recovery of Rs 27.76 lakh from three officials of the Horticulture department in Kendrapara.

Acting on the petition of RTI activist Pabitra Pani, the Lokayukta on Monday recommended proceedings against former assistant director, horticulture Bishnu Charan Dash, former assistant horticulture officer Binodini Mahali and extension worker Prashant Kumar Routray for the acts of omission and commission. 
The loss caused to the government by spending Rs 27,76,470 from the State exchequer for raising cashew plantation will be recovered from the trio.

In the petition, the RTI activist had alleged that cashew plantation under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for 2015-16 and 2016-17 in Badabetara and Arakhakuda villages in Garadpur block existed only on paper. The officials misappropriated the money meant to plant cashew trees. No foolproof measures were taken by the officials to safeguard the plantation from adverse external factors, Pani claimed. 

Last year, the State government had dismissed sarpanch of Rajnagar panchayat on the charges of siphoning off around `9 lakh by not planting trees under MGNREGA. Similarly, an RTI reply revealed that an NGO of the district allegedly misappropriated around Rs 25 lakh from the Integrated  Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) fund by not planting mangrove trees in connivance with forest officials of Bhitarkanika National Park. Vigilance officials are inquiring into the plantation ‘scam’ in Bhitarkanika.



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